How much is the UK spending on Covid vaccines? Cost of Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNtech jabs

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged an additional £1.65b to the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout in his 2021 Budget - on top of 2020 commitments

An effective vaccine to fight off coronavirus has long been championed as the way out of the pandemic - and the enforced restrictions on daily lives.

The UK’s vaccine rollout programme received a shot in the arm with the deployment of the approved Moderna jab in Wales, Scotland and England.

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Moderna’s jab is the third Covid vaccine approved and used to combat the virus alongside ones developed by AstraZeneca / Oxford and Pfizer / BioNtech.

The UK’s vaccine rollout programme received a shot in the arm with the deployment of the approved Moderna jab in Wales, Scotland and England - but how much has the government spent on Covid vaccines overall? (Pic: Shutterstock)

But how much has the American-made jab cost the UK - and how much has the government spent on Covid vaccines overall? Let’s take a look.

How effective is the Moderna jab?

Late stage trials of the Moderna vaccine sent shockwaves around the world in November 2020 when reports showed it was 94% effective in fighting Covid.

In comparison, the Pfizer vaccine offers 95% protection against Covid after two doses and the AstraZeneca jab provides 70% protection 22 days after the first dose, rising to 80% efficacy after the second dose.

Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are alternatives to the AstraZeneca jab for the under-30s after concerns were raised over a possible link to rare blood clots.

How many doses of the Moderna vaccine has the UK ordered?

Moderna’s two-stage jab will contribute 17 million doses to the UK’s overall order total of 367m Covid vaccines from seven different companies around the world.

The UK has placed orders for the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine (100m), Valneva (60m), Novavax (60m), Sanofi (60m), Pfizer (40m), Janssen (30m) and Moderna (17m).

How much does the Moderna vaccine cost?

The Moderna vaccine is the most expensive of the three MHRA-approved jabs in use across the UK, initially pitched at £28 per dose.

It is reported in the Daily Mail that the UK has spent between £24-28 per dose on the Moderna vaccine, meaning the overall expense is somewhere between £408-476m.

How does this cost compare to AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines?

AstraZeneca made it clear that it wouldn’t sell the vaccine for a profit, to maximise its availability to countries regardless of the size of its economy.

It has been mooted to cost around £3 per dose with the BMJ reporting in January that the UK government struck a deal to buy at around £2.17p per jab, at an overall cost of £217m.

Whereas the Pfizer jab is costing the UK around £15 per dose, according to the BBC. This would make it the biggest investment to date of around £600m overall.

How much has the UK spent on Covid vaccines overall?

The three approved Covid vaccines have cost the UK in the region of £1.22b and £1.3b.

While research carried out by the National Audit Office (NAO) in December 2020 showed that the UK had spent £2.9b for a total of 267m doses of five different Covid vaccines.

The total cost of purchasing, manufacturing and deploying vaccines, and investing in global efforts to buy vaccines, to the UK taxpayer was estimated to be up to £11.7b.

Head of NAO, Gareth Davies, said at the time: “Developing and securing an effective vaccine is central to reducing the impact of COVID-19 on society and saving lives.

“Government has worked quickly and effectively to secure access to potential vaccines, using the available information to make big decisions in an inherently uncertain environment.”

The overall cost of the vaccination programme is estimated to have surpassed the £13b mark after chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged another £1.65b to fighting Covid in the 2021 Budget.

Mr Sunak said it was “essential” to maintain momentum, adding: “Protecting ourselves against the virus means we will be able to lift restrictions, reopen our economy and focus our attention on creating jobs and stimulating growth.”