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When COVID-19 Vaccines & Treatment Aren't Free, What Will they Cost?


In the post COVID-19 pandemic health care emergency era, private and public insurance entities will continue full coverage of the shots - but what about the uninsured?

Terry Brenneman, MD
Terry Brenneman, MD

What will be the impact on patients and your practice this fall when the federal government no longer pays for and gives away free COVID-19 vaccines and the antiviral Paxlovid?

COVID-19 is here to stay and the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Committee of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted unanimously on June 15 that vaccines for the 2023-2024 respiratory virus season should be updated to a monovalent vaccine against the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 that currently accounts for approximately 40% of new COVID infections. Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax have already been working on producing that vaccine and Pfizer announced on June 231 that along with partner BioNTech the companies have submitted regulatory applications to the FDA.

Question 1. Is the 40% number mentioned above for the XBB.1.5 variant currently increasing or decreasing?

Question 2. Why has the FDA decided to make a vaccine against XBB.1.5 instead of XBB.1.6?

Question 3. What is the expected price of the new monovalent COVID vaccine?

Question 4: How much does the federal government pay for a 5-day course of Paxlovid?


1. Pfizer and BioNTech submit applications to US FDA for Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted monovalent COVID-19 vaccine. News release. Pfizer. June 23, 2023. Accessed July 5, 2023.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID Data Tracker. Variant proportions. Monitoring variant proportions. Accessed July 5,2023. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions
3. Kates J, Cox C, Michaud J. How much could COVID-19 vaccines cost the US after commercialization? KFF. March 10, 2023. Accessed on July 5, 2023. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/how-much-could-covid-19-vaccines-cost-the-u-s-after-commercialization/

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