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U.S. drug giant Pfizer has said demand for its COVID-19 vaccine could become “sustainable” like flu shots, as it reported $ 3.5 billion in revenue for the drug in the first quarter.

Pfizer also forecast that it would generate revenue of $ 26 billion for the full year, up from previous forecast of $ 15 billion.

The company said this week it shipped 430 million doses of the vaccine and for the year as a whole it has contracts to deliver 1.6 billion.

Managing Director Albert Bourla said ‘lasting’ demand for the vaccine was likely Pic: AP

The results come a few days after its Anglo-Swedish rival AstraZeneca reported in sales of $ 275 million of its coronavirus vaccine in the first quarter, or about 68 million doses.

AstraZeneca, which unlike Pfizer produces its vaccine at cost, revealed that it only accounted for 4% of sales over the period and that these actually weighed on profits.

In contrast, Pfizer’s sales of its vaccine – developed with German company BioNTech – accounted for about a quarter of its total revenue for the January-March period.

The two-hitting jab was his best-selling product in the first quarter.

Pfizer has raised its forecast for sales of the drug this year to $ 26 billion, reflecting new contracts, and those additional sales are expected to help boost profits.

He said more deals need to be made and he is in supply talks with several countries for 2022 and beyond.

Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said: “Based on what we’ve seen, we believe that sustained demand for our COVID-19 vaccine – similar to that of influenza vaccines – is a likely outcome.”

Pfizer and BioNTech aim to produce up to 2.5 billion doses this year.

This compares to an AstraZeneca goal of delivering up to 3 billion of its vaccine, which was developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, by the end of this year.

Overall Pfizer revenue for the quarter was $ 14.6 billion, up 45% from a year ago, while profits were up 45% to $ 4.9 billion. dollars.

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