Pfizer expects $15bn sales of Covid-19 vaccine

Drugs giant Pfizer has said it expects $15bn (£11bn) of sales this year of the coronavirus vaccine it developed with German firm BioNTech.

The vaccine was one of the first to be authorised for use by countries including the UK and the US.

The vaccine sales represent a quarter of its expected revenue for this year.

Many countries around the world have been scrambling to vaccinate their populations in a bid to save lives and aid economic recovery.

Pfizer is trying to deliver two billion doses of the vaccine in 2021 as quickly as possible as countries rush to sign supply deals.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the vaccine brought in sales of $154m for Pfizer.

Out of the firms rushing to bring vaccines to market, analysts expect at least Pfizer and rival American biotech company Moderna to make billions of dollars this year.

There have been concerns that global wrangling over supplies could disrupt delivery schedules.

Over the weekend, the European Union backtracked on a decision to trigger an emergency provision in the Brexit deal that could have prevented shipments entering the UK.

The plans had been part of the EU’s new export controls on vaccines to try combat delivery shortfalls.

Pfizer has committed to delivering 40 million doses to the UK by the end of the year.

On Tuesday, Japan said it would get all of the vaccine doses it had bought from Pfizer and BioNTech after concerns that the EU export controls could have delayed Japan’s inoculation programme.

Japan is trailing most major economies in starting vaccinations, because of its reliance on overseas drugs firms and an insistence that vaccines go through domestic trials.

The country plans to start its campaign in mid-February with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

Pfizer and BioNTech have increased manufacturing capacity to more than two billion doses a year from 1.3 billion to meet demand, BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin said on Tuesday.

“Therefore we are confident that we will deliver the doses that we have promised to Japan,” he said.

Supply of the vaccine had faced delays in parts of Europe due to changes in manufacturing processes to boost production.

But BioNTech said on Monday the firms were back on track to meet their European timeline.

To achieve its global goal, Pfizer will have to deliver an average of around 10 million doses per week.