The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has seen successes, stumbling blocks and inequalities.
Thinking about vaccine development, it’s quite astounding that within one year pharmaceutical companies have developed, manufactured, and distributed hundreds-of-millions of doses.
I decided to take a deeper look at just how impressive this feat is.
I first obtained a list of all approved vaccines around the world;
|Name||Vaccine Type||Primary Developers||Country of Origin||Authorization/Approval|
|Comirnaty (BNT162b2)||mRNA-based vaccine||Pfizer, BioNTech; Fosun Pharma||Multinational||Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Caribbean, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, European Union, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Suriname, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, UK, US, Vatican City, WHO|
|Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine (mRNA-1273)||mRNA-based vaccine||Moderna, BARDA, NIAID||US||Andorra, Canada, European Union, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, Norway, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam|
|COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (AZD1222); also known as Vaxzevria and Covishield||Adenovirus vaccine||BARDA, OWS||UK||Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eswatani, Ethiopia, European Union, Faroe Islands, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greenland, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Korea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, UK, Vietnam, WHO|
|Sputnik V||Recombinant adenovirus vaccine (rAd26 and rAd5)||Gamaleya Research Institute, Acellena Contract Drug Research and Development||Russia||Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Mali, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Republika Srpska, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe|
|COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen (JNJ-78436735; Ad26.COV2.S)||Non-replicating viral vector||Janssen Vaccines (Johnson & Johnson)||The Netherlands, US||Andorra, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, European Union, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, US, WHO|
|CoronaVac||Inactivated vaccine (formalin with alum adjuvant)||Sinovac||China||Albania, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Zimbabwe|
|BBIBP-CorV||Inactivated vaccine||Beijing Institute of Biological Products; China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm)||China||Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guyana, Hungary, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, UAE, Venezuela, Zimbabwe|
|EpiVacCorona||Peptide vaccine||Federal Budgetary Research Institution State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology||Russia||Belarus, Russia, Turkmenistan|
|Convidicea (Ad5-nCoV)||Recombinant vaccine (adenovirus type 5 vector)||CanSino Biologics||China||Chile, China, Hungary, Mexico, Pakistan|
|Covaxin||Inactivated vaccine||Bharat Biotech, ICMR||India||Guyana, India, Iran, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Paraguay, Zimbabwe|
|WIBP-CorV||Inactivated vaccine||Wuhan Institute of Biological Products; China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm)||China||China|
|CoviVac||Inactivated vaccine||Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products||Russia||Russia|
|ZF2001||Recombinant vaccine||Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical, Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences||China, Uzbekistan||China, Uzbekistan”|
There are 13 approved vaccines around the world. Approval varies by country via their medical bodies.
60 vaccines are still in development at the time of writing.
For this analysis I am going to be using the vaccines approved for use in the UK (where I live), which are at the time of writing;
- Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine (mRNA-1273) (Moderna, BARDA, NIAID)
- Comirnaty (BNT162b2) (Pfizer, BioNTech; Fosun Pharma)
- COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (AZD1222); also known as Vaxzevria and Covishield (BARDA, OWS)
Pricing of the each vaccine varies by country, so I used EU costs (which are likely to be on the lower end of the scale).
I used each manufacturers documentation to obtain dosage size.
|Vaccine||Dosage ml||Number of doses required|
|Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine||0.5||2|
|COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca||0.5||2|
Required Vaccine Volume (UK)
The United Kingdom 2020 population is estimated to be 67,886,011 according to UN data.
Let’s assume the average person receives a single dose of 0.5 ml (which also somewhat accounts for loss), so 1 ml for both required doses of the approved vaccines.
This gives us a total requirement of 67,886,011 ml, or 67,886.011 litres.
A fuel tanker holds roughly 36,000 litres according to this thread, meaning only two would be required to store the whole of the UK’s vaccine requirement!
EU countries pay $2.15 per dose of the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine according to the BMJ, much cheaper than the cost of the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine ($14.70) and Moderna vaccine ($15).
The mean vaccine cost of these three options is $10.73** per dose ($15 + $14.70 + $2.5)/3).
|Rank by population||Country (or dependency)||Population (2020)||Mean cost|
Assuming a mean average vaccination cost, Germany with a population of almost 84 million will pay about $1.8 billion to vaccinate its entire population.
In the UK, with a population of 67,886,011, the mean average cost to totally vaccinate the entire population stands at $1,441,446,300.23.
Assuming the UK needs 67,886,011 litres of the vaccine, at a cost of $1.44 billion. That equates to $21,233.33 per litre ($1,441,446,300.23 / 67,886.011).
One tanker can therefore hold an average of $764,399,880 worth of ($21,233.33*36000), assuming EU costs. Drive safely tankers!
The UK government’s Vaccines Taskforce alone has secured early access to 457 million doses, so that’s 228,500,000 ml worth of vaccine at a cost of $4,851,816,666.67 ($4.85 billion)!.
Worldwide, that’s 15,800,000 litres of vaccine required with an estimated average cost of $167,743,333,333 ($167.74 billion!).
This is a very rough analysis using aggregated data. It is likely raw figures will be shared over time which can be used to improve this analysis.
Worldwide, 15,800,000 litres of COVID-19 vaccine is required with an estimated cost of $167.74 billion!