Pfizer expects $26 billion in 2021 sales from COVID vaccine

Pfizer said Tuesday it expects to do $26 billion in sales this year from its two-shot COVID-19 vaccine alone.

That’s up more than 70 percent from its last forecast, largely thanks to new contracts signed with countries struggling to get their hands on vaccine doses. 

The estimate assumes that Pfizer will deliver 1.6 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. Across all of its products, Pfizer said in its first-quarter earnings report that it expects to make between $70.5 billion and $72.5 billion in revenue this year.

That means sales from the COVID-19 vaccine are expected to account for more than one-third of all of the company’s revenue this year. 

“Based on what we’ve seen, we believe that a durable demand for our COVID-19 vaccine – similar to that of the flu vaccines – is a likely outcome,” CEO Albert Bourla said on a conference call with investors. 

Sales from the vaccine, which was jointly developed with BioNTech, could rise even higher this year as the company negotiates more supply agreements with governments. 

Pfizer and BioNTech have previously said that they aim to produce up to 2.5 billion doses this year. If the two companies sell that number of doses, revenue from the vaccine could reach around $40 billion. 

Pfizer manufacturing site
US President Joe Biden with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, right, tours the COVID-19 vaccine freezers at a Pfizer manufacturing site.
AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer could have another pandemic-related revenue stream as it continues work on its COVID-19 booster shots, which are designed to work against certain variants of the virus. 

Rival Moderna has forecast $18.4 billion in sales this year from its COVID-19 vaccine. The biotech company is expected to provide an updated figure when it reports first-quarter earnings on Thursday.

Pfizer’s vaccine was the first to win an emergency use authorization in the US in December. Since then, more than 162 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine have been distributed in the US, more than the number of distributed Moderna and Johnson & Johnson doses, combined. 

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla is expecting a “durable demand” for the COVID-19 vaccine.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The company is now eyeing emergency approval of its vaccine for use in younger people. The Food and Drug Administration could authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in 12 to 15-year-olds as soon as next week.

Shares of the company were up almost 1 percent in early trading Tuesday.