Vaccine Stocks' Wild Ride Continues As FDA Reportedly Mulls Booster Shots

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Investor's Business Daily 12 August, 2021 - 03:06pm 49 views

Vaccine stocks Moderna (MRNA) and BioNTech (BNTX) rose Thursday on a report the Food and Drug Administration will soon authorize a third Covid shot for immunocompromised people.

The update to the original emergency use authorizations that allowed Covid vaccines to be used could come as soon as Thursday, according to NBC News, which cited two people familiar with the plan. Last month, a panel of advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged booster shots for immunocompromised adults.

On the stock market today, BioNTech stock jumped 4.1% to 374.02. Moderna stock climbed 1.6% to 391.42. Fellow vaccine stock and BioNTech partner Pfizer (PFE) popped 2% to 47.24.

All three vaccine stocks have boomeranged this week. BioNTech, Moderna and Pfizer stocks roared to record highs on Tuesday, only to take a collective tumble on Wednesday. But the possibility of FDA-authorized booster shots sent them higher again on Thursday.

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No Covid vaccine is 100% effective against infection. And people with compromised immune systems are more susceptible even after being inoculated. That's because their immune systems might not have effectively responded to the shots.

It's unclear which people would be eligible for a third booster shot. The CDC estimates roughly 2.7% of U.S. adults are immunocompromised. This group includes cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, people living with HIV and others.

Immunocompromised people are more likely to have a severe and prolonged case of Covid, transmit the virus to other people in their house and experience a breakthrough infection following vaccination. Of people in U.S. hospitals with breakthrough cases, 44% are immunocompromised.

Adding a third booster shot could help already strong sales for the three vaccine stocks.

In the second quarter, Pfizer guided to $33.5 billion in full-year sales of its BioNTech-partnered Covid shot. That's based on signed contracts for 2.1 billion doses to be delivered this year. Both numbers are likely to increase as Pfizer and BioNTech ink new deals.

Moderna said it had signed deals for $20 billion worth of Covid vaccine doses in 2021. This year, the company says it can manufacture 800 million to 1 billion doses. For 2022, Moderna already has signed deals for $12 billion worth of product and options for 8 $billion more.

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