What to know about the price of fall COVID booster shots

How much does the new COVID-19 booster vaccine cost?

The Sum

We’re weeks away from the latest round of COVID-19 boosters becoming available in the U.S., but the new commercial cost is over four times as expensive.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise. The schedule for new boosters is now on an annual fall cycle, which lines up with the flu shot season as well as respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, Axios reported.

Pfizer, which has developed several COVID-19 vaccines over the last three years, is nearing approval from the Food and Drug Administration, for a new booster formulated to protect against an omicron variant. It’s expected to be available this fall.

Most people won’t have to pay out of pocket — if they have insurance, CNBC reported.

For those without health insurance or government assistance, they could pay between $110 to $130 per single-dose vial, The Kansas City Star reported. In July of 2020, it was priced at $19.50 per dose. That hit $24 in July 2021 and $30.48 in June 2022.

“Pfizer has priced the vaccine to ensure the price is consistent with the value delivered and with the goal of uninterrupted access for every American,” the company wrote in an email to The Star.

KFF — an independent source for health policy research, polling and journalism — wrote in a post that, “For the uninsured and underinsured – who will not have guaranteed access to free COVID-19 vaccines – the commercial price could discourage vaccination.”

This fall, the CDC is launching the Bridge Access Program to provide free vaccines and treatments to the 25 to 30 million adults without insurance. This is still under negotiation with pharmacy chains.

“While most consumers with public and private insurance will be protected from having to pay directly for vaccine costs, those who are uninsured and underinsured may face cost barriers when the federally-purchased vaccine doses are depleted,” KFF wrote. “In addition, as private payers take on more of the cost of vaccinations and boosters, this could have a small upward effect on health insurance premiums.”

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Cortlynn Stark writes about finance and the economy for The Sum. She previously covered City Hall for The Kansas City Star and joined The Star in January 2020 as a breaking news reporter. Cortlynn studied journalism and Spanish at Missouri State University.

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