Pfizer Covid vaccine could cost UK taxpayer £600million – ten times more than Oxford jab

PFIZER'S "groundbreaking" coronavirus vaccine could cost the UK taxpayer £600 million – ten times more than Oxford's.

The Covid jab, which the firm this week claimed is 90 per cent effective, is likely to cost at least £15 per dose – with two shots needed for it to work.

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It also needs to stored at temperatures of -78C with specially designed ice packs costing an eye- watering £50,000 each, it's reported.

By comparison, the home-grown vaccine being developed by Oxford could cost as little as £2.23, according to the Telegraph.

Both the university and manufacturer AstraZeneca has agreed not to profit from the jab, with trial results expected next week.

Encouraging interim findings from Pfizer and BioNTech's mass clinical trial earlier this week raised hopes that the pandemic may soon come to an end.

The NHS is on stand by to roll out either Covid jab, on the basis they are approved by regulators as safe to use.

NUMBER CRUNCHING

Although the Government has yet to disclose full details of its deals with either pharmaceutical company, the US is being charged around £29.47 for two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

While EU countries have been offered a dose of the Oxford vaccine for just £2.23.

Both jabs require people to have two doses, injected into the arm three or four weeks apart.

It means the cost of vaccinated one person could range between around £4.50 and £30.


Boris Johnson revealed on Monday that the UK has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer's jab at an estimated cost of £588.4million.

In contrast, the 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine which have already been bought cost much lower at £233million.

The Telegraph reports that the price of the Pfizer drug is likely to be higher for Britain because the US brokered a deal with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (Barda) which helped to fund it.

Likewise, the UK has likely to have secured a discount for the Oxford vaccine, because it funded much of the research.

PM WILL HAVE JAB

The Prime Minister today vowed to have a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available.

The PM's official spokesman said: "Any vaccines which are determined for use will undergo a vigorous series of safety checks, they will be absolutely safe for the public to use.

"And the Prime Minister would therefore, of course, be very happy to take the vaccine himself."

During Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, Mr Johnson said science has given the country "two big boxing gloves" in the form of a possible vaccine and testing.

 

It comes as England's deputy chief medical officer said he would be happy to work evenings and weekends to vaccinate people himself.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam also said he had told his own mother to get ready to receive the vaccine.

He told a Downing Street press conference that Britain is poised for the "most important vaccination programme we've done for decades".

Earlier, Professor Robin Shattock, from Imperial College London, said the UK needs "a toolbox as full as possible" of different vaccines and added that several may come on stream shortly.

He said he is "really hopeful" that Oxford University and AstraZeneca's vaccine will report its results soon, with others following shortly after.

He told BBC Breakfast: "All these vaccines will have different levels of immunity and may be useful for different populations, so we need as many vaccines as possible to be able to combat this pandemic, and make them globally available."

'BIG BOON'

An Imperial College vaccine Prof Shattock is working on uses a similar technology to that of Pfizer and BioNTech.

Responding to Pfzer's news, Prof Shattock said: "It's still early but this is the first evidence this is a vaccine-preventable disease and that is a big boon to everybody working on vaccines."

Asked what stage the Imperial vaccine is at, Prof Shattock said his team will select the final dose next month and will then begin larger clinical trials in the UK, with the potential of seeking regulatory approval next summer.

On whether vaccines are safe for people with underlying health conditions, Prof Shattock said safety in these groups will be closely monitored.

"That's another reason why we need a range of vaccines, because some vaccines may work better in people with different underlying conditions," he said.

"It's important to have a toolbox as full as possible, so we can make sure there is something that works for everybody."

Prof Shattock also sought to reassure people generally that vaccines are safe, saying the long-term side-effects of Covid-19 are "way more dramatic" than those from a vaccine.

"That equation is very clear in my mind," he said. "Vaccines are exceptionally safe medicines and they prevent really serious disease."

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