COVID 19 Vaccine

All the COVID-19 Vaccines Required by the UK Could Easily Fit into Two Fuel Tankers

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.

Methodology

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”

Full table.

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.

Results

Available Vaccines

Vaccine Dosage ml Number of doses required
Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine 0.5 2
Comirnaty 0.3 2
COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca 0.5 2

Full table.

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!

Vaccine costs

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).

Full vaccine dose (ave) cost USD

Download chart.

Rank by population Country (or dependency) Population (2020) Mean cost
1 Germany 83,783,942 $1,779,012,368.47
2 France 65,273,511 $1,385,974,216.90
3 Italy 60,461,826 $1,283,806,105.40
4 Spain 46,754,778 $992,759,786.20
5 Poland 37,846,611 $803,609,706.90

Full table.

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!).

Improvements

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.

tl;dr

Worldwide, 15,800,000 litres of COVID-19 vaccine is required with an estimated cost of $167.74 billion!

Footnotes

  1. Data sources + data used in this post.
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