If you’ve been on the fence about getting a COVID booster, it might be worth making up your mind soon.
Moderna will price its vaccine against the coronavirus at roughly $130 per dose once the federal government ends its pandemic purchasing agreements. That’s bringing criticism from consumer advocates and some members of Congress.
In the heart of the pandemic, the government paid between $15 and $26 per dose, making them available to the public at no cost. As the federal response to the health crisis winds down, though, Moderna (and other vaccine providers) will shift to selling the vaccine commercially.
Pfizer has said it’s considering a similar price for its vaccine.
The new pricing would likely take effect in the fall, when another vaccination campaign could be underway.
Moderna President Stephen Hoge maintains people who have health insurance will not face any out of pocket expenses with the shift. And those who do not have coverage (or have insufficient coverage) could be in line for a Moderna-funded patient-assistance program.
That’s not appeasing certain members of Congress, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have both sent letters to the company, asking for further information and urging it to reconsider, noting it received federal funding to develop its COVID-19 vaccine in the first place.
Officials worry a significantly higher price would potentially make it accessible for some and increase expenses for government health programs. Moderna’s Hoge told The Wall Street Journal “we feel we have honored the support we got and then paid it back and then some.”