Public Health

How Much Will A COVID-19 Vaccine Cost?

Mira Research Team19 Nov 2020

How Much Will The COVID-19 Vaccine Cost?

 

Quick Digest: 

  • Pharmaceutical companies that are part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine initiative, are expected to charge between $4 and $20 per dose for the COVID-19 vaccine
  • The COVID-19 vaccine will likely be available by mid-2021 and will cost between $3 and $30 per dose and estimated that the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech will cost $39 for two doses, or $19.50 per dose
  • It's possible that millions of Americans will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine at no additional cost, as per the CARES Act, however, some may have to pay out of pocket- such as uninsured individuals
  • The cost of getting recommended adults vaccinations in the U.S. can range from free to over $200
  • The cost of a flu shot without insurance is typically around $40 for those under 65 and $70 for those over 65

 

When will the Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine be available? 

Dr. Redfield, the director of the CDC, predicts that people will be able to get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by February at the earliest. More realistically, he says that a vaccine should be available on the market by the summer of 2021. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts that we will have the vaccine around April 2021.

There are currently 11 vaccines that are in phase 3 clinical trials, some of which have seen great success. The vaccine being developed by vaccine candidates, Pfizer and BioNTech, has shown to be 90% effective in preventing infection from COVID-19 so far. The United States Federal Government made an agreement to buy the first 100 million doses of the vaccine produced by Pfizer. 

 

How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost with and without insurance? 

The cost of the COVID-19 vaccine will likely vary based on manufacturing costs, efficacy, demand, and use of new technologies. The cost will also depend on the type of vaccine you receive. For example, mRNA-based vaccines will likely be more expensive than adenovirus vaccines. 

It is currently projected that the price of the COVID-19 vaccines will range from $3 to $30 per dose. It is estimated that the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech will cost $39 for two doses, or $19.50 per dose. 

 

Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Be Free?

Due to The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, it is expected that most health insurance plans will cover the COVID-19 vaccine for little to no cost. However, it's possible many Americans will have to pay out of pocket such as uninsured individuals.

 

What vaccines should adults need to get in the U.S.? 

There are several vaccines that are recommended for all adults in the United States. First, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that every adult in the U.S. should get an influenza vaccine (flu shot) every year. Still need your flu shot? See our article on where to get a flu shot for free in NYC!

All adults should also get the Tdap vaccine to protect them against whooping cough if they did not get this vaccine as an adolescent. After getting the Tdap vaccine, all adults should also get a Td booster vaccine every 10 years. 

In addition to these vaccines, all adults between the ages of 19 and 26 should get the HPV vaccine, which protects you from developing certain cancers. There are also several vaccines that are recommended for adults over the age of 50, such as the shingles vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine.   

There are other recommended vaccines for adults who have pre-existing conditions, who work in health care, or who did not receive certain vaccines during childhood. Some of these vaccines include MMR, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. 

 

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How much do the recommended vaccines cost with and without insurance? 

The cost of recommended vaccines varies depending on your insurance plan. If you have private insurance, you will likely be able to get most of the recommended vaccines for free or with a small copayment. 

If you are covered by Medicare Part B, you will be able to get some vaccines for little to no cost. The included vaccines are the flu shot, pneumococcal disease vaccine, and the hepatitis B vaccine if you have a pre-existing condition. If you are covered by Medicare part D, you will be able to get the shingles vaccine and the Tdap vaccine for little to no cost. 

Unfortunately, the cost of vaccines for adults who are covered by Medicaid varies significantly by state. If you are covered by Medicaid, you will likely be able to access a flu shot for little to no cost. 

If you are not covered by insurance, the out-of-pocket cost of vaccines varies depending on vaccine type and the location you are vaccinated at. Below we outlined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private sector costs for some adult vaccines. Note that the prices may be highest due to additional fees at your testing location. 

Vaccine TypeCost Per Dose Range  
Hepatitis A$32.86 -$109.13
Hepatitis B$25.43 - $121.25
HPV$140.59 - $227.93
MMR$48.86 - $78.68
Pneumococcal $62.69 - $202.00
Tdap$24.89 - $46.80
Td Booster$16.27 - $25.88
Varicella$82.04 - $135.73
Shingles$101.51 - $151.41

 

How much does the flu shot cost with and without insurance? 

There are several types of flu shots that you may be able to get this year. The most common types of flu shots are the quadrivalent flu vaccine and the high-dose flu vaccine. The quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against four different flu viruses. The high-dose flu vaccine can be given to adults over the age of 65 to create a more robust immune response and protection against the flu viruses. 

Most insurance companies will cover your flu shot at several pharmacies or urgent care facilities. Without insurance, however, the cost of quadrivalent flu shots can range from $0 to $50. Most major pharmacies give quadrivalent vaccines for around $40. The average cost of a high-dose flu shot without insurance is typically around $70.  

The CDC private sector cost for a quadrivalent flu shot ranges from $16.94 to $25.76. However, the price you pay may be higher at some locations due to additional fees.

 

How much does a flu shot cost at each major pharmacy without insurance?

See the chart below for prices at some major pharmacies. If you have not gotten vaccinated this flu season, it is recommended that you get the flu shot as soon as possible.  

In addition, some locations in NYC offer free flu shots. 

LocationPrice 
CVS Pharmacy

Quadrivalent: $40 

High-dose: $67

WalmartQuadrivalent: $35-$40
Rite AidQuadrivalent: $40
Costco

Quadrivalent: $20

High-dose: $40 with membership $47 without

Walgreens

Quadrivalent: $41

High-dose: $70

Source: https://www.goodrx.com/blog/heres-how-to-get-discounted-or-even-free-flu-shots-this-year/

 

 

Sources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html

https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/07/22/us-government-engages-pfizer-produce-millions-doses-covid-19-vaccine.html#:~:text=The%20vaccine%20would%20be%20available,of%20administering%20the%20vaccine.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/08/06/899869278/prices-for-covid-19-vaccines-are-starting-to-come-into-focus

https://www.vaccines.gov/get-vaccinated/pay

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/awardees/vaccine-management/price-list/index.html

https://wellbeing.humboldt.edu/sites/default/files/health/PublicHealth-vaccination-pricelist.pdf

https://www.ft.com/content/80f20d71-d7eb-4386-b0f2-0b19e4aed94d

https://www.npr.org/2020/10/28/928805803/how-much-will-a-coronavirus-vaccine-cost-to-americans-with-medicare-or-medicaid

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-much-will-you-pay-for-a-covid-19-vaccine-heres-what-we-know#Cost-not-the-only-barrier-to-vaccination

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