Complex Made Simple

The legal and illegal COVID-19 vaccine trade: Big money rolling in

Conspiracy theorists will say that the billions made from vaccine sales, legally and illegally, confirm their suspicions that COVID-19 was a planned virus

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is sold for the lowest price among the currently available vaccines Vaccine prices per dose ranged from $250 to $1,200, with an average cost of about $500 on the Dark net Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine will allow the company to expect $18.4 bn in product sales

Conspiracy theorists will say that the billions made from vaccine sales, legally and illegally, confirm their suspicions that COVID-19 was a planned virus.

Regardless, we do know that vaccine manufacturers are making a healthy profit selling the drug.

Even the Darknet has found a way to sell not only vaccines but immunization papers that allow you to freely travel. 

This Thursday will mark 12 months since the UN health agency declared the crisis a pandemic.

World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently said that “Right now, WHO’s focus is on supporting all countries to end the pandemic, including with vaccines and the public health measures that have been the bedrock of the response for 15 months.”  

Read: Private travel on the rebound, spurred on by ‘Vaccine Vacations’

Read: What side effects can the vaccine have on you after you take it?

Vaccine stocks and sales 

According to an AETOSWire report, stocks of companies producing COVID-19 vaccines do not experience their all-time highs; they are in the same position as other sectors on financial markets. 

However, from the long-term perspective, production problems are expected to be resolved and ordered volumes are supposed to multiply their current values.

The use of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in cooperation with the University of Oxford is being approved by a growing number of regulatory bodies for its general use, namely in developing countries. 

AstraZeneca’s commitment not to profit from the sale of the COVID-19 vaccine may shuffle the cards with respect to its competitors. 

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is sold for the lowest price among the currently available vaccines. According to the Belgian health minister, the price is EUR 1.80 ($2.20) per dose in the European Union compared to EUR 18 for a dose from Moderna and EUR 12 for Pfizer’s vaccine.

Pfizer, as the largest pharmaceutical company in the US, increased its year-on-year net profit by more than 76% in Q4, representing nearly $600 million. 

This year, the company will supply approximately 2 million vaccines, and recently the Japanese Ministry of Health announced that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine had been officially approved. For the past few weeks, Pfizer stock trading has been consolidated with the price keeping close to $34.60, the same as that of October 29, 2020. 

Moderna moves up its expected supplies of 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the end of July. 

It expects to supply 100 million doses to the US Government by the end of March.

The vaccine on the Darknet

Scammers and sellers on the dark market have been eager to make a profit off the process.

Kaspersky researchers examined 15 different marketplaces on the Darknet and found advertisements for three major COVID vaccines: Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna. There were also sellers advertising unverified “COVID-19” vaccines.

The majority of sellers came from France, Germany, the UK, and the USA, and the prices per dose ranged from $250 to $1,200, with an average cost of about $500.  Communications are made via encrypted messaging apps like Wickr and Telegram, while payments are requested in the form of cryptocurrency, primarily Bitcoin.

The majority of these underground sellers have made between 100-500 transactions. 

Even if you did receive something in the mail, most likely what you would receive would not be an effective, valid dose. More importantly, obtaining such doses is illegal, according to Kaspersky.

“Right now, not only are people selling vaccine doses, but they’re also selling vaccination records that can help you travel freely. It’s important for users to be cautious of any ‘deal’ related to the pandemic, and, of course, it’s never a good idea to buy a vaccine off the Darknet,” comments Dmitry Galov, a security expert at Kaspersky.

Top companies‘ sales of the vaccine 

Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine are split 50-50 and the companies expect the vaccine to bring in revenues of approximately $15 billion in 2021. Pfizer and BioNTech plan to supply up to 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine worldwide by the end of 2021. The vaccine, which requires two doses, costs $39 in the United States and £28 in the EU.

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine will allow the company to expect $18.4 bn in product sales related to advanced purchased agreements for its vaccine. The company is aiming to build supply up to 1 billion doses in 2021, and 1.4 billion doses in 2022.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine will have 1 billion doses enter production for global distribution by the end of 2021, which would generate up to $10 bn.