Covid Vaccines to Cost U.K. Up to £11.7 Billion, Watchdog Says


The U.K. will spend as much as 11.7 billion pounds ($15.7 billion) on purchasing, manufacturing and roll-out of coronavirus vaccines, according to estimates from the public spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office said in a report Wednesday the cost includes U.K. investment in global efforts to find a vaccine -- but not the potential future expense of any multiyear vaccination programs. It also said the figure is likely to change as the government better understands the vaccines and what is needed to make and use them.

There may also be extra costs in future because the contracts each contain some form of “indemnity protection” for the pharmaceutical firms in case of legal action arising from any adverse effects from the vaccines, it said.

DeveloperNo. of Vaccine Doses Secured by U.K.
Oxford/AstraZeneca100 million
GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur60 million
Novavax60 million
Valneva60 million
BioNTech/Pfizer40 million
Janssen30 million
Moderna7 million

The U.K. has signed deals for five vaccines providing up to 267 million doses -- from AstraZeneca Plc/Oxford University, Valneva SE, Pfizer Inc./BioNTech SE, Novavax Inc., and Moderna Inc. It also has non-binding agreements in place for a further 90 million doses -- from GlaxoSmithKline Plc/Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, the NAO said.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is being rolled out across the U.K. after it was approved by the medicines regulator.

“With one vaccine now approved for use and its roll-out started, significant challenges remain,” NAO head Gareth Davies said. “Efficient delivery to the U.K. population presents complex logistical challenges and requires excellent communication with the public.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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