What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us
COVID-19

How might COVID-19 vaccine makers compete in the marketplace?

Andy Uhler Nov 17, 2020
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
A volunteer takes part in a COVID-19 vaccination trial this summer in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
COVID-19

How might COVID-19 vaccine makers compete in the marketplace?

Andy Uhler Nov 17, 2020
Heard on:
A volunteer takes part in a COVID-19 vaccination trial this summer in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

We got more promising news on the vaccine front Monday. Drugmaker Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective. This comes just a week after drugmaker Pfizer reported a success rate of over 90%. And these two aren’t the only companies racing to produce a viable drug. Is it fair to call this a vaccine competition?

Moderna told investors in October it would have 20 million doses ready by the end of the year. Pfizer said it would have about 50 million by then.

Both companies are clearly racing to get their product to market as soon as possible, but “these vaccines won’t be ‘marketed’ in the usual sense,” said William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University.

He said initially the government is going to be the main buyer and distributor of these vaccines, which means “the distribution should be coordinated rather than competitive.”

Schaffner said the CDC in Atlanta is preparing for distribution when the vaccines are ready.

And when the pandemic is behind us and COVID-19 is just another infectious disease, things might change, said Aaron Kesselheim, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“Then you might see some marketing competition between Pfizer and Moderna and whatever other manufacturers have a vaccine at that point as well,” he said.

Both vaccines would still need to be cleared by the FDA before distribution.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

Read More

Collapse

News and information you need, from a source you trust.

In a world where it’s easier to find disinformation than real information, trustworthy journalism is critical to our democracy and our everyday lives. And you rely on Marketplace to be that objective, credible source, each and every day.

This vital work isn’t possible without you. Marketplace is sustained by our community of Investors—listeners, readers, and donors like you who believe that a free press is essential – and worth supporting.

Stand up for independent news—become a Marketplace Investor today with a donation in any amount.