Pfizer expects to earn about $36 billion in revenue this year from the COVID-19 vaccine developed with BioNTech, the company announced Tuesday, an increase from the previous estimate of $33.5 billion.
During an earnings call, CEO Albert Bourla said the vaccine contributed $13 billion in revenue during the third quarter alone, bringing total revenue this year to $24.3 billion.
The company forecasts another $29 billion in sales in 2022.
Pfizer has the capacity to produce up to 4 billion doses in 2022, and already has contracts in place for 1.7 billion, meaning that most of the revenue the company earns is from the sheer volume of vaccines, rather than the price.
Bourla noted that to date, Pfizer has produced 2.6 billion doses and shipped 2 billion doses to 152 countries or territories. Bourla said the company is on track to produce 3 billion doses by the end of this year, and at least 1 billion will go to middle- and low-income countries.
But since it is a two-dose vaccine, that means Pfizer's shot will be used to inoculate 500 million people, at most, in developing countries.
Public health experts have expressed concern that wealthier nations have monopolized much of the vaccine supply, leaving poorer countries without access.
Bourla said Pfizer is giving low- and middle-income countries steep discounts on their vaccines, but suggested they need to place orders for next year to avoid wealthier countries securing most of the supply.
The earnings call comes on the same day outside advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are meeting to discuss giving the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ages 5 to 11. They are expected to recommend its use.
The Food and Drug Administration has already authorized the vaccine for children in that age group, and CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFauci: Omicron appears to be less severe Officials seek to reassure public over omicron fears The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE is expected to sign off on the recommendation later Tuesday, allowing vaccinations to begin.
Data for younger children is still being collected. Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer and research director, said initial data from the studies in children ages 2 to 4 are expected later this quarter, while initial data from children 6 months old to younger than 2 are expected next quarter.