The Ukiah Daily Journal

How much would you pay for a covid shot? You're about to find out

- By Jim Shields Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer's editor and publisher,, the long-time district manager of the Laytonvill­e County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonvill­e Area Municipal Advisory Council. Lis

It's been announced that President Biden will end all the pandemic emergency orders on May 11.

Seems like just as most folks were getting used to living under permanent Covid regs now they're going to go poof.

Whatever will we do with ourselves?

According to a Washington Post report, the move kicks off a massive effort to unwind a sprawling set of changes put in place during the earliest days of the crisis to give the government greater flexibilit­y to respond. Since then, most Americans have been fully vaccinated against the virus and life has largely returned to normal. Still, an average of more than 500 Americans are dying every day from Covid-19.

I did the math on that death rate, it comes out to 182,500 over a year's time.

That's nothing to sneeze at, or cough at, or die at.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Covid-19 has killed more than 1 million people in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and life expectancy has been cut by nearly 2.5 years since 2020.

The data from 2022 suggests that there were significan­tly fewer Covid-19 deaths in the third year of the pandemic than there were in the first two. More than 267,000 people died of Covid-19 in 2022, according to preliminar­y data from Johns Hopkins University, compared with more than 350,000 Covid-19 deaths in 2020 and more than 475,000 Covid-19 deaths in 2021.

Now here's something you better pay attention to:

Among the most significan­t effects of ending the emergencie­s are that many Americans will have to start paying for coronaviru­s testing and treatments, depending on their insurance coverage and where they live.

Do you have any idea how much a C-19 shot costs? If you held a gun to my head I couldn't tell you.

But since I'm curious fellow, I did some research so now you can lower that gun at my temple.

My main sources of the informatio­n I'm about to share with you are KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) and investor calls (meetings between a company and potential investors) recently made by Pfizer and Moderna.

KFF is an endowed, nonprofit organizati­on, without any connection to Kaiser Permanente, which provides independen­t, reliable informatio­n on national health issues, at least that's what I've found to be the case.

The federal government has so far purchased 1.2 billion doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines combined, at a cost of $25.3 billion, or a weighted average purchase price of $20.69 per dose. In total, the federal government has made six different bulk purchases from Pfizer, totaling 655 million doses, and five bulk purchases from Moderna, totaling 566 million doses, totaling the 1.2 billion doses.

The federal price paid per dose has generally increased over time, with the highest price paid for the most recent bivalent, or updated, boosters. The most expensive price per dose paid by the government was for the recent purchase of bivalent booster doses from each manufactur­er, including 105 million doses at $30.48 per dose from Pfizer and 66 million doses at $26.36 per dose from Moderna (or a weighted average price per dose of $28.89). This represente­d a 56% increase in the price per dose for Pfizer, compared to the initial Pfizer purchase price, and a 73% increase for Moderna. In total, the U.S. has purchased 171 million doses of the bivalent booster at a cost of $4.9 billion.

While the commercial prices for COVID-19 vaccines are not yet known, both Pfizer and Moderna have signaled likely ranges that are three to four times greater than the pre-purchased federal price for the bivalent booster. In a recent investor call, Pfizer indicated that it expected a commercial price per dose for its vaccine to be between $110 and $130. Moderna has suggested a commercial price between $82 and $100 per dose.

So now you're in possession of pretty reliable informatio­n that once federal support for Covid vaccinatio­n ends, there's a bit of sticker shock in the near future for most of us.

One last Pandemic-related item revolves around Valentine's Day.

According to the California Farm Bureau, “Fresh cut flowers have seldom been so coveted. Floral sales are soaring as Valentine's Day approaches, and it's more than just the season that is driving the trend. The cut-flower sector has seen a renaissanc­e due to the pandemic, as many floral customers have come to see home bouquets as a regular part of self-care. Valentine's Day typically trails only Mother's Day in volume of flowers sold and is often the highest revenue event of the year.”

You can chalk up one positive consequenc­e of Covid-19, and it's all about love.

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