Until recently, children under age 16 couldn’t receive a COVID-19 vaccine. That changed, though, with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) receiving U.S. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their vaccine in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on May 17, healthcare and cannabis bureau chief Corinne Cardina and Motley Fool contributor Keith Speights discuss how big the adolescent vaccine market might be for Pfizer.
Corinne Cardina: The FDA expanded its existing Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to adolescents who are between 12 and 15. That was announced last week. The CDC followed up and also recommended it for this population. Let’s talk about the size of this market and could it help Pfizer and BioNTech?
Keith Speights: The short answer is yeah, it definitely could help the companies over the long term anyway. This is a potentially huge market.
I was looking, there isn’t a definitive number from the U.S. Census Bureau about the 12-15 age group, but there are some numbers for the number of kids who are ages 12-14 and there are around 12.5 million in that age range. Then if you extrapolate a little bit from some of the other numbers that are available, I think we’re looking at a ballpark of around 17 million kids between the ages of 12 and 15. That’s a pretty sizable opportunity.
If you did some number crunching here, Corinne, and said let’s use the price per dose that Pfizer has been charging the U.S. government of $19.50. If we use that price per dose, multiply it out at 17 million target population here and assuming a two-dose regimen, you’re talking about a market opportunity of around $680 million, so that’s pretty sizable.
To put that number into perspective, I looked at Pfizer’s drugs, their products, sales for last year. The adolescent market alone would make the vaccine, if Pfizer was able to get 100% penetration into this market, it would put the vaccine just in that age group in their top 12 products in terms of sales from 2020. This is a big opportunity. Of course, there will be other vaccines to follow.
You’re going to see Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) and some of the others look to target this age group as well. Probably the biggest challenge is just going to be vaccination rates. There could be some even higher resistance to vaccinating kids than there is for adults. We’ll see, but also remember that the U.S. already has enough vaccine doses to fully vaccinate all Americans this year between all of the supply deals that it’s made. Any financial benefit for Pfizer or BioNTech related to this Emergency Use Authorization for adolescents will be realized in 2022 and beyond and not this year.
Cardina: When the U.S. says, “We have enough vaccine doses to fully vaccinate all Americans,” is that talking about Americans of any age?
Speights: Well, if you start adding up the numbers, and I don’t have all the numbers in front of me. But if you start adding up all the deals that the U.S. government has made with Pfizer, with Moderna, with Johnson & Johnson, all three of those vaccines have already won EUA.
The U.S. also has a deal with Novavax, which is hoping to get EUA. They have a deal with AstraZeneca. If you added up all those doses, they have well more than enough to vaccinate all Americans of all ages. I think Pfizer has a 300-million-dose deal with the government, Moderna has the same. That 600 million at a two-dose regimen, just those two vaccines would be enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans, and I think our population is around 330 million right now.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.