20201130_Vaccine_Cost_IBT Reported cost per dose of selected COVID-19 vaccine candidates* Photo: Statista/IBT

While most reports regarding potential Covid-19 vaccines have quite rightly focused on their efficacy, ease of distribution and cost are other key factors involved in a global rollout. For example, the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech needs to be stored at -70C while Moderna's can be stored in a standard freezer at -20C, factors that could cause difficulties in global distribution.

Cost is another inhibiting factor with Moderna's vaccine coming in at $37 per jab while Pfizer & BioNTech state theirs will cost around $20 per dose. Many governments have used taxpayer money to buy doses in bulk with the intention of distributing the vaccines to their citizens for free. This is not an option for every country, however, and cheaper vaccines that remain stable at higher temperatures are therefore expected to play a crucial role in ending the pandemic in more far-flung corners of the world.

High hopes are being pinned on the vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca which has emerged from tests with 70 percent efficacy (which can be tweaked to 90 percent depending on the dose). It can be transported under standard refrigerated conditions and administered within existing healthcare settings. It is also significantly cheaper than its counterparts at just $4 per dose.