Pfizer’s Profits Surge on Soaring COVID-19 Vaccine Sales

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
November 2, 2021 Updated: November 2, 2021

Pfizer reported that both sales and profits more than doubled in the third quarter of this year compared to the year-ago period, with the better-than-expected results coming on the back of soaring sales of its COVID-19 vaccine.

In its Nov. 1 earnings report (pdf), Pfizer boasted third-quarter revenues of $24.1 billion, a 134 percent boost compared to the third quarter of 2020. Sales of its COVID-19 vaccine—Comirnaty—accounted for $13.0 billion of revenues, or 54 percent.

Pfizer’s profits soared 133 percent to $7.7 billion in the third quarter compared to the year-ago quarter.

“I continue to be very pleased with the way our business is performing in 2021, both including and excluding the significant contributions of Comirnaty to our results,” said Frank D’Amelio, Pfizer’s Chief Financial Officer, in a statement.

The pharmaceutical giant also raised its full-year sales forecast to between $81 billion and $82 billion, up from a previous range of $78 billion to $80 billion.

Pfizer also boosted its full-year sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine by 7.5 percent to $36.0 billion, as it signs deals with countries for booster doses and receives clearances for using its shots in broader age groups.

Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer, said on an earnings call (pdf) that, to date, Pfizer has produced 2.6 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, and shipped 2 billion of them to 152 countries and territories.

“More than 75 percent of the revenues we have recorded up through third-quarter 2021 for Comirnaty have come from supplying countries outside the U.S., and we remain on track to achieve our goal of delivering at least two billion doses to low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2022,” Bourla said in a statement.

Bourla said Pfizer’s is on track to manufacture roughly 3 billion doses of Comirnaty this year.

Pfizer’s earnings release comes as the company awaits the outcome of a U.S. regulatory meeting later in the day on using its shots in children aged 5 to 11.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Oct. 29 issued an emergency authorization to use Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5 through 11, but before the shots can be distributed across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must first sign off on the move.

“The FDA has determined this Pfizer vaccine has met the criteria for emergency use authorization,” the FDA said in a release. “Based on the totality of scientific evidence available, the known and potential benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in individuals down to 5 years of age outweigh the known and potential risks.”

The FDA said that the agency’s and CDC’s surveillance systems previously identified higher risks of myocarditis—inflammation of the heart muscle—and pericarditis—inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart—after males aged 12 to 17 got the Pfizer vaccine. The FDA added that, based on its own modeling to gauge the risk-benefit ratio for children aged 5 to 11, the agency “predicts that overall, the benefits of the vaccine would outweigh its risks in children 5 through 11 years of age.”

Harvard University professor of medicine Martin Kulldorff, meanwhile, told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program that he believes children should not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I don’t think children should be vaccinated for COVID. I’m a huge fan of vaccinating children for measles, for mumps, for polio, for rotavirus, and many other diseases, that’s critical. But COVID is not a huge threat to children,” said Kulldorff, who has often criticized the federal government’s vaccine mandates on social media.

In the interview, Kulldorf pointed to data showing that children have a very low chance of hospitalization, death, or long-term effects from COVID-19.

Jack Phillips and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'