Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) stand atop the COVID-19 vaccine market. A recent recommendation from a Canadian advisory committee could further cement the two drugmakers’ leads. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on June 23, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss why coming in second could be great news for Pfizer and Moderna.
Keith Speights: Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is now recommending that a messenger RNA vaccine be given as the second dose following a first dose of AstraZeneca’s (NASDAQ:AZN) COVID-19 vaccine.
Brian, why is this being recommended by this Canadian committee and this does seem like good news for Pfizer and Moderna, right?
Brian Orelli: Yeah. It’s definitely good news for Pfizer and Moderna and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX), too, for that matter. This comes from a couple of different issues.
The second dose of AstraZeneca causes blood clots in some patients and then there was a German study and I think maybe some other studies that have shown that patients who got the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by an mRNA vaccine showed that patients had higher immune responses than patients who got two of the same dose.
It was a small study, 250 people total so that includes the mix match as well as the ones that got the same vaccine. We don’t know if the higher antibody levels will translate into protection against COVID-19, but at the very least, it’s probably a good indicator that it won’t be any worse getting an AstraZeneca and mRNA versus two mRNA vaccines.
Speights: Yeah. I do wonder if this story has legs, if it will become an even bigger issue if other countries follow suit.
Of course, the other thing to consider here is that AstraZeneca’s vaccine has run into some issues, in fact, in Europe, and I know you and I’ve talked about one high ranking European official was even cautioning people to not use AstraZeneca’s vaccine if they had an alternative so maybe this isn’t that big of a story, what do you think?
Orelli: Yes. Of course, AstraZeneca is not trying to make any money off of its vaccine at this point, so that’s not a big issue here.
Again, I’m convinced that the adenovirus based vaccines which AstraZeneca is one, aren’t going to be a big player in the booster shot arena and so I’m not sure that it really matters one way or the other for AstraZeneca in the long run.
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