The Pandemic’s Impact on the Vaccine Industry



Smaller Vaccine Companies Gain Ground

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely cause long-lasting changes for the vaccine industry. For years, four main publicly traded companies dominated the industry, selling billions of dollars worth of vaccines each year. Those companies were Pfizer (PFE), Merck (MRK), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Sanofi (SNY).

As the race to create and then distribute a COVID-19 vaccine unfolded, other companies like Moderna (MRNA) and Novavax (NVAX) gained power in the space. These companies have been more nimble than some of their larger counterparts. They were able to ship their vaccine doses directly to government warehouses and did not have to hire large sales forces.

How the Vaccine Market Differs From Other Healthcare Markets

The Biden administration said that the US will have 600 million total doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines by July, which will be enough to immunize most of the population. Investors are now beginning to look ahead and think about what distribution of vaccines for COVID-19 and other illnesses will look like after this milestone is achieved.

The market for vaccines is different than the market for other drugs because it is not generally driven by physician or consumer choices. Patients usually do not have a choice about which vaccine they receive for the flu or other illnesses. Vaccine companies make money from large contracts and compete on price. They do not typically compete for attention from individuals.

New Technologies for Vaccine Development

The tools available to vaccine developers have also been changed as a result of the pandemic. Companies have found new ways to employ messenger RNA technology, viral vector technology, and other methods of vaccine development. These achievements could accelerate the process of making new vaccines in the future.

There are still hurdles to overcome in the process of distributing COVID-19 vaccines around the world. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the advancements that have taken place during the pandemic will have far-reaching effects on vaccine development in the future.

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