USA – Pfizer Inc has raised the full-year sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine by 7.5% to US$36 billion, as it signs deals with countries for booster doses and receives clearances for using its shots in broader age groups.
The company said it is also on track to deliver 2.3 billion doses of the vaccine, out of the roughly 3 billion it plans to make this year.
Driven by an unprecedented vaccination drive against the COVID-19 pandemic globally, Pfizer’s shot has quickly become one of the best-selling products in the company’s roughly 172-year history. The company equally splits expenses and profit from the vaccine with its German partner BioNTech .
Other rivals such as Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) have faced production snags, helping Pfizer extend its lead in signing supply deals with countries.
This comes at a time when the United States could begin administering Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 as soon as Wednesday after a panel of outside experts votes on how broadly the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should recommend its use in the age group.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization of the vaccine in the age group on Friday, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky must make her recommendations before it can be rolled out.
After the FDA authorization, the U.S. government and Pfizer began distributing the vaccine in preparation for a broad rollout for children, many of whom are back in school for in-person learning.
“Over the next couple of days, several million doses will start arriving at local pediatricians and family doctors offices, pharmacies, children’s hospitals, community health centers, rural health clinics and other locations,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a press briefing on Monday.
Zients said the United States has enough supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for all 28 million children aged 5 to 11. While some children may be able to get their first shots as soon as Wednesday, Zients said the U.S. pediatric vaccine program will be running at full strength by next week.
The FDA authorized a 10-microgram dose of Pfizer’s vaccine in young children. The original shot given to those age 12 and older is 30 micrograms.
However, the FDA has not yet authorized Moderna’s vaccine in teenagers as it works to understand the rate of myocarditis linked to that vaccine.
Moderna said on Sunday it will delay seeking authorization of its vaccine in younger kids while the FDA completes its review for 12- to 17-year-olds that may take until January.
The vaccine brought in sales of US$13 billion in the third quarter. Analysts had expected US$10.88 billion on average, according to seven analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Pfizer’s shares rose over 1% in premarket trading.