How Much Money Will Pharmaceutical Companies Make From Selling COVID-19 Vaccine?

By Adriaan Brits Monday, March 1, 2021

Following the coronavirus outbreak, health experts said it would take years to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Less than a year later, mass vaccination campaigns have begun around the world.

Closeup of COVID-19 vaccine bottles.

Pfizer and Moderna Report Sale Forecasts

Several biotechnology firms have rolled out COVID-19 vaccines they hope will get approved, but only a few of them could make massive profits, including the US biotech company Moderna and Germany’s BioNtech and its partner Pfizer.

Britain’s AstraZeneca and the US business giant Johnson & Johnson have pledged to sell their COVID-19 vaccines only to cover expenses at about $4 per dose. On the other hand, Cambridge-based biotechnology company Moderna is selling its coronavirus vaccine at up to $37 per dose in a bid to make a profit for its shareholders.

Other vaccine makers have set different prices, with China’s Sinovac selling the COVID-19 vaccine at up to $29.75, Pfizer at up to $19, Sputnik at $10, etc. Last month, Pfizer said it estimates it will generate $15 billion from vaccine sales this year.

The drug business giant, and its German partner BioNtech, were the first ones to obtain approval for use in the UK and the US. The company said COVID-19 vaccine sales account for a quarter of its expected revenue for 2021.

Pfizer seeks to roll out two billion doses of its jab this year as countries around the world are rushing to strike supply deals. Their COVID-19 vaccine generated $154 million in sales in Q4 of last year, Pfizer said.

Its US rival Moderna said it expects to make a business profit of $18.4 billion from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, marking a massive step toward growth for the embattled business company. This is higher than analysts’ estimates of $11.2 billion and also better than the $15 billion in sales that Pfizer is predicting.

Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine costs $30 for the required two doses in the US and $36 in Europe. Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, said this year is expected to be “an inflection year” in terms of business.

AstraZeneca declined to include numbers from their COVID-19 vaccine sales in the earnings report covering the previous quarter. The pharmaceutical business intends to report earnings from vaccines separately from the next quarter.


The global coronavirus vaccinations recently started with some pharmaceutical businesses, including US companies Pfizer and Moderna, set to earn $15 billion and $18.4 billion, respectively, from sales in 2021.

About the Author

Headshot for author Adriaan Brits
As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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