Should COVID-19 vaccines be free for everyone? | The Tylt

Should COVID-19 vaccines be free for everyone?

Once a vaccine is found for COVID-19, the biggest challenge is making sure everyone will be able to be immunized in order to achieve herd immunity. The government has committed billions of dollars to speed up development and production once the vaccine is proven effective and safe.

Some lawmakers say the vaccines developed with American taxpayer money should be free and widely available. The United States has already paid through the unprecedented sums of money driven to these companies over the past few months.

However one of the leading manufacturers, Moderna, says its will price the vaccine around $32 to $37 a dose—then it will let the market determine the price once the crisis is abated. The traditional argument pharmaceutical producers make is that their costs are calibrated to balance access, research and development costs, and profit incentives. 

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The Moderna case is especially indicative of the situation surrounding vaccines. The company has received nearly $1 billion dollars in taxpayer grants to fund their development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. According to Axios, Moderna has contributed little of its own money to the project.  So when Moderna announced that it would charge from $32 to $37 a dose, many politicians angered, demanding the vaccines be free. The American taxpayer already paid for the vaccine's development. Why should people pay for it twice?

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Moderna and other pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer say it will sell the vaccine at profit, but responsibly. Moderna's president said the company refuses to sell the vaccine at cost during a House Committee hearing. The pharmaceutical industry argues the price set by the companies take in a number of factors which ultimately enable the entire industry to innovate effectively. 

Here's what Moderna's CEO said during a conference call, according to NPR:

Moderna views pricing of its coronavirus vaccine in two stages: the pandemic period and the endemic period, CEO Bancel said Wednesday during the conference call.
"At Moderna, like many public health experts, we believe that SARS-CoV-2 virus is not going away, and that there will be a need to vaccinate people or give them a boost for many years to come," he told investors.
During the pandemic period, he said the vaccine would be priced "well below value," but afterward, it would be more in line "with other innovative commercial vaccines." That means prices could go up.
#PharmaNeedsProfitToo
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should COVID-19 vaccines be free for everyone?
A festive crown for the winner
#MakeVaccinesFree
#PharmaNeedsProfitToo