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Yesterday was a big day. Just over three-quarters of a year since the start of the pandemic, the inoculation process began in the U.S.

Wall Street analysts predict a significant haul for Pfizer and Moderna, anticipating the firms will earn a collective $32 billion from the vaccines in 2021 alone. Talk about a shot in the arm.

Shot-Makers, Profit-Takers
Morgan Stanley projects Pfizer will reap $19 billion in Covid-19 vaccine revenue in 2021. That blows away its best-selling product – a pneumonia vaccine that brought in $5.8 billion in sales last year.

And looking ahead, Morgan Stanley expects Pfizer to collect another $9.3 billion in revenue in 2022-23 as its vaccine rolls out worldwide.

Unlike Pfizer, an established pharmaceutical maven, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine put the company on the map. Moderna has never brought a drug to market and had just $60 million of revenue in 2019 (from grants and collaborations).

With its shot on the cusp of FDA approval and shares up almost 700% in 2020, Morgan Stanley says Moderna investors expect $10 to $15 billion of Covid-19 vaccine sales in each of the next two years.

Taking Shots
Not everyone is over the moon about the economic spoils. Eli Zupnick of progressive watchdog Accountable.US called it “absolutely wrong” for drug companies to profit on vaccines “so heavily subsidized and supported by American taxpayers.”

  • Moderna received $955 million in federal grants to support its vaccine development.
  • Pfizer did not accept federal funding for the R&D of its vaccine, but struck a $1.95 billion advance purchase agreement with the U.S. government for 100 million doses.

Still, others defended the companies as enterprises that have invested heavily in building their technology platforms.

The Takeaway: Pfizer said its vaccine development has been “entirely self-funded, with billions of dollars already invested at risk."

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