The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the routinely recommended vaccine list. The committee’s unanimous decision Thursday has no immediate effect, since COVID-19 shots already are recommended for virtually all Americans. However, it’s one more step towards the CDC putting the shots on the annually updated, formal lists of what vaccinations doctors should be routinely offering to their patients.
“It’s important to note that there are no changes in COVID-19 vaccine policy, and today’s action simply helps streamline clinical guidance for healthcare providers by including all currently licensed, authorized and routinely recommended vaccines in one document,” the CDC said in a statement Thursday.
Decisions made by the committee are almost always adopted by the CDC director and then sent to doctors as part of the government’s advice on how to prevent disease. However, state and local officials don’t always adopt every recommendation. Flu and HPV shots, for example, are not required by many schools. The decision comes as the White House continues to push Americans to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines before Halloween.
“If Americans did that, we could save hundreds of lives each day this winter,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Ja said last week. “As the Commonwealth Fund just put out a new report, a new analysis. They estimate that we can save as many as 90,000 lives and nearly a million hospitalizations if most eligible Americans got their updated vaccines.”
The decision to add to the CDC’s recommended list comes as Pfizer indicated it was planning a major price hike to its COVID-19 vaccine. On Thursday, Angela Lukin, a Pfizer executive, said the company expects to roughly quadruple the price of the vaccine to about $110 to $130 per dose after the U.S. government’s current purchase program expires.
According to analysts, the hike could spur revenues for years. Wells Fargo Analyst Mohit Bansal said it could create around $2.5 billion to $3 billion in annual revenue for the shots.
“This is much higher than our assumption of $50 per shot and even assuming $80 per shot net price in high-income countries, we see $2 per share upside to our estimates” from the new prices, Bansal wrote in a research note.