COVID-19 vaccines and the pandemic's third year

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2020). "Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2" [Micrograph]. Retrieved from Flickr.

Note from the editor

Early in 2020, Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., estimated development of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine would take between 12 to 18 months. His prediction was viewed by many as highly optimistic.

The past two years, however, have borne out Fauci's forecast in incredible fashion. By November 2020, two vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were proven safe and strongly effective. Several others from Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax followed. Globally, shots developed by companies in China and Russia were cleared for use after international studies showed protection against COVID-19, too.

The world is now in what would have an unthinkable position at the start of the pandemic, with some countries having several viable vaccines to choose from for their citizens. More could be one the way, too, as developers push forward second-generation candidates. 

But it's not enough, particularly as omicron lays bare the enduring threat from a mutating coronavirus and new variants. Lower- and middle-income countries, meanwhile, are still struggling to obtain enough doses to immunize their citizens.

Pressure has accordingly ratcheted higher for drugmakers and developed country governments to take more aggressive action to share vaccine supply — calls that have intensified as companies disclose sales estimates in the tens of billions of dollars.

In the U.S. and Europe, however, the focus over the past six months has shifted toward booster doses, which have been proven critical in protection against omicron, and opening up eligibility for younger and younger children. 

Read on for a snapshot of where things stand:

Ned Pagliarulo Lead Editor

Sanofi, GSK say COVID vaccine works as booster, but delay key study results

• Published Dec. 15, 2021

Vaccine from Medicago, GSK protective against COVID-19 in large study

• Published Dec. 7, 2021

Moderna vaccine weaker against omicron, but third shot boosts protection

• Published Dec. 20, 2021

Pfizer sales of COVID-19 vaccine climb, with tens of billions more expected next year

• Published Nov. 2, 2021

Booster rollout expands to all adults with FDA approval of Pfizer, Moderna shots

• Published Nov. 19, 2021 • Updated Nov. 20, 2021

J&J foresees end to not-for-profit sales of coronavirus vaccine

• Published Oct. 19, 2021

CureVac scraps its first COVID-19 vaccine and pivots to a second

• Published Oct. 12, 2021

Pharma erupts as Biden administration backs waiver of vaccine patent rights

• Published May 6, 2021

The ongoing developments in the COVID-19 vaccine

With the widespread distribution of vaccines in the U.S, mandates nationwide are beginning to lift. However, with less than half of Americans having been vaccinated, there might still be a long way to go to achieve 'herd immunity.'

included in this trendline
  • Novavax says vaccine 90% effective against COVID-19 in large trial
  • Pfizer forecasts $26B in coronavirus vaccine revenue this year
  • FDA authorizes Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for younger teens
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Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.