Pfizer stock and BioNTech stock popped Monday after the Food and Drug Administration granted their Covid vaccine a full approval.
The approval is based on test data from more than 40,000 people ages 16 and older who received either the vaccine or a placebo. The vaccine proved 91% effective at preventing Covid, though new data suggest immunity wanes over time. Booster shots will begin Sept. 20 in the U.S.
Officials are hoping the full approval for Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech‘s (BNTX) shot will stoke vaccinations as the delta variant sweeps the U.S. In a tweet, Brad Loncar, chief executive of Loncar Investments, told vaccine skeptics they have “no more excuses.” He believes the full approval could help increase vaccinations.
“I’m surprised this (emergency use authorization) skepticism was a talking point of vaccine hesitancy to begin with, but it was,” he told Investor’s Business Daily. “This will also make it legally easier for businesses, public venues and others to implement vaccine mandates and that will help as well.”
On the stock market today, Pfizer stock jumped 2.5% to 49.93. BioNTech stock soared 9.6% to 382.10. Moderna (MRNA) stock rose 7.6% to 411.89. Moderna’s vaccine has emergency use authorization. This allows an experimental vaccine, drug or device to be used without approval in an emergency.
Pfizer Stock, BioNTech Stock Jump On Approval
More than 92 million people in the U.S. have received two doses of the vaccine now called Comirnaty. In total, there have been more than 204.7 million doses administered of the two-shot vaccine. It accounts for nearly six in 10 vaccine doses administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to gain emergency use authorization last December. Another two-dose vaccine from Moderna followed a week later. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) joined in February with a single-shot vaccine.
With full approval, Comirnaty can remain on the market after the pandemic ends. Pfizer and BioNTech can also change the price and market directly to consumers. Both Pfizer stock and BioNTech stock have soared on vaccine news amid the ongoing pandemic.
Comirnaty met the FDA’s “high standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality,” Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a written statement.
“While millions of people have already safely received Covid-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated,” she said. “Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”
Will Vaccine Skepticism Abate?
Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla also noted the skepticism in a written statement.
“I am hopeful this approval will increase confidence in our vaccine, as vaccination remains the best tool we have to help protect lives and achieve herd immunity,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine already have been administered in the U.S. since December 2020, and we look forward to continuing to work with the U.S. government to reach more Americans.”
Still, slightly more than half of the U.S. population has received a full vaccination. Meanwhile, Covid cases and deaths are climbing, according to the CDC.
As part of the approval, Pfizer and BioNTech will be required to continue testing the vaccine for adverse effects known as myocarditis and pericarditis. The inflammation of the heart and tissues surrounding it has occurred predominantly in young men. Pfizer stock and BioNTech stock pulled back on those initial reports, but later regained ground.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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