By Cara Murez
MONDAY, Oct. 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Some Americans could pay up to $130 to get a COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer starting in 2023, but most will still get it for free.
A Pfizer executive noted that people who would get its vaccine for free would likely include those on public health insurance programs such as Medicare or Medicaid and those with private health insurance, the Associated Press reported.
Recommended vaccines must be covered by insurers as part of the Affordable Care Act. Pfizer also has an income-based assistance program for eligible U.S. residents.
The U.S. government is expected to stop buying and distributing the shots sometime next year, the AP said.
While Pfizer said last year it was charging $19.50 per dose to the U.S. government, that increased to about $30 per shot in June. The company has said it had three tiers of pricing globally, depending on a country’s financial situation, the AP reported.
The newest price reflects both commercial distribution costs and switching to single-dose vials, Pfizer executive Angela Lukin said last week, the AP reported.
That is well below expected limits “for what would be considered a highly effective vaccine,” Lukin added.
By comparison, annual flu shots range from $50 to $95, depending on the specific type, according to CVS Health, the AP said.
Pfizer’s vaccine, which starts with two initial doses, is the most commonly used shot to prevent COVID-19 in the United States.
Americans have been vaccinated with 375 million doses of the original Pfizer vaccine since late 2020, plus 41 million doses of an updated booster shot, CDC data shows.
The company’s revenue for the shots was $36.8 billion last year and is expected to be $32 billion this year, according to FactSet. Sales are expected to fall after that, the AP said.