Significant progress has been made with the COVID-19 vaccine. In the United Kingdom, the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine was approved for use in early December. The United States may have a decision about vaccine options for emergency use before mid-December. As a result, many people are beginning to wonder what the COVID-19 vaccine will cost. If you are curious about how much a coronavirus vaccine will likely run. Here’s what you need to know.
How Much Different COVID-19 Vaccines May Cost
Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine Cost
Moderna, a U.S. biotech firm, has created a COVID-19 vaccine that has a potential effectiveness rate above 94 percent. It relies on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. This is a process that uses genetic material to create a desired immune response in vaccine recipients. Which gives them protection against the target virus.
Cold temperatures are required to store the Moderna COVID vaccine. While it can remain stable if kept in a freezer that runs from 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit – similar to the temperature you’d find in a standard medical or home freezer – for up to 30 days. For longer storage, it needs to be kept at -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Those who receive the Moderna vaccine would need two doses, spread four weeks apart. Back in August, Moderna stated that it intends to charge between $32 and $37 per dose for certain customers. That means, for two doses, the total cost of using the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine would be $64 to $74.
Modern has stated that large volume purchases could result in a lower charge per dose. However, Moderna hasn’t said how much of a bulk-purchase discount might be available.
Additionally, that is the cost Moderna plans to charge institutions who would buy the vaccines to administer to patients. As a result, individuals may end up paying a different amount to receive the vaccination. Institutions who administer vaccines – including doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and hospitals – may have to charge more to cover their purchasing costs as well as expenses related to actually administering the vaccine, like a physician’s time.
That cost also doesn’t account for patients with medical insurance. Insurers may cover some or all of the cost of getting the vaccine
Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Cost
Pfizer and BioNTech also have a COVID-19. Its effectiveness rate is testing at above 90 percent. Like the Moderna vaccine, two doses are required, though they only need to be 21 days apart. Additionally, this coronavirus vaccine also uses mRNA technology.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is harder to store than the Moderna version. It has to be kept at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, including during transit. If kept in a regular refrigeration unit, it lasts just five days.
As for cost, the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is significantly cheaper than Moderna’s. The companies are reportedly planning to charge $20 per dose. The two-dose series would, therefore, cost institutions just $40.
However, it isn’t clear what patients would ultimately pay. For those with medical insurance, insurers may cover all or some of the burden. For those without, the out-of-pocket cost could be above the $40 mark.
AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Cost
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is being developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford. Isn’t as far along into testing as the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. However, late-stage trial data is expected to be made available before 2020 draws to a close. Though initial reports are promising.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine also requires two doses. The final version of the vaccine is likely to be able to be stored in a standard refrigeration unit. Additionally, it’s anticipated to be the lowest cost option.
Early deals suggest that the price per dose is somewhere around the $3 or $4 mark. Making a two-round series cost to providers a mere $6 to $8. AstraZeneca has openly stated that it does not intend to make a profit on its COVID-19 vaccine for early orders. So it is possible the cost will rise over time.
As with the other vaccines, the final cost a patient pays will be dependent on whether they have medical insurance or are paying out-of-pocket. However, even if a patient has to shoulder the entire expense, the AstraZeneca vaccine may be the cheapest option.
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Cost
Differentiating itself from the pack, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may only require a single dose. It relies on a different technology than mRNA, using the same approach that was used to manufacture the company’s Ebola vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine still needs more testing before its effectiveness can be determined. What is known is that it only requires traditional refrigeration for storage. Additionally, it may cost institutions around $10 per dose.
The cost to patients will depend on whether the patient has insurance. However, even without coverage, a price tag not far above $10 could be possible.
Cost of COVID Vaccine for Medicare Recipients
The Trump Administration’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has already released guidance stating that any COVID vaccine that is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – either with a Biologics License Application (BLA) or through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) – will be fully covered under Medicare as a preventative vaccine. This means Medicare recipients will have no out-of-pocket cost.
The guidance also works to ensure that private health insurers will be able to follow suit. By using certain CARES Act provisions, the COVID-19 vaccine would be free to insured individuals, including if they use an in-network or out-of-network provider for the vaccine.
Other steps are also being taken, including efforts to ensure price transparency and some to manage Medicaid program costs. However, at this time, it isn’t fully clear what patients outside of those with Medicare would ultimately pay out-of-pocket.
Do you think the cost of getting a COVID vaccine is reasonable? Do you plan on getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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