Near-Term Catalysts to Watch for COVID Vaccine Stocks

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) have reported great efficacy results for their coronavirus vaccine candidate BNT162b2. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) announced outstanding efficacy results for its experimental vaccine mRNA-1273. What are the next near-term catalysts for investors to look for? Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and Fool.com writer Keith Speights answer that question in this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Nov. 16, 2020.

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Corinne Cardina: So what are some near-term catalysts that investors should be keeping an eye on? What kind of articles are you planning in the next week is what I should be asking, because I know you’re keeping an eye on everything.

Keith Speights: Yeah. Near-term catalysts, the obvious ones are emergency use authorization filings by Pfizer and by Moderna. Pfizer’s should come this week. Either this week, I would say at least by next week. But they were saying third week of November, and if I’m looking at my calendar correctly, this is the third week of November already. That will be the first catalyst.

Moderna has stated that they expected to have enough data to be able to file for emergency use authorization by November 25th, so that’s coming up very quickly. Those will be the two big things.

Then, it will be the FDA’s decision on those, which I would expect would come in the first half of December, and then we would start to see the first wave of vaccines come out and become available to, I think, at least initially to first responders and healthcare workers who are at great risk.

The other things to watch are just some of the other developments. You’ve got: AstraZeneca (NASDAQ: AZN) expects to report their late-stage study results before the end of this year, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) shouldn’t be too far after that, Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) expects to announce results from their UK study early next year. They hope to begin their late-stage US study this month. There are just a lot of big potential catalysts to keep your eyes on.

Corinne Cardina: Definitely. A question from Slido. Randy says, “I have been told that late first-quarter for first availability of vaccine for the general public. Not really a question, but I think a lot of people are tossing out a lot of different timelines. It is hard to peg down how long it will take to get the vaccinations to the most at-risk demographics, and when it’s going to be opened up to the general public.” Keith, any other thoughts on timeline there?

Keith Speights: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a good estimate on a timeline. We don’t know for sure. A lot of it will depend on working out any kinks in the distribution and logistical processes for these vaccines, but I think late first-quarter is doable. It could slip some into early second quarter. I think we could probably safely say that by spring of 2021 that vaccines will be widely available to Americans.

Honestly, if we step back and look at it, that’s great news considering it usually takes years for a vaccine to be developed and become available. And we will very likely have vaccines available to the wide majority of Americans in just a little over a year after the pandemic was declared, and that is phenomenal.

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