December 26, 2020

What’s Behind the Vaccine Feud Between Pfizer and the Feds?

[The Motley Fool]

There’s more bark than bite.

Relationships are important — especially when there’s a massive effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines under way. There have been reports recently, though, hinting that Pfizer‘s (NYSE:PFE) relationship with the U.S. government could be strained. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Dec. 18, 2020, healthcare and cannabis editor/analyst Olivia Zitkus and writer Keith Speights discuss what’s behind the feud between Pfizer and the feds.

Should you invest $1,000 in Pfizer Inc. right now?

Before you consider Pfizer Inc., you’ll want to hear this.

Olivia Zitkus: There seems to be some confusion between the federal government and Pfizer about whether the number of doses that are set to be delivered are on schedule or whether they are enough. Pfizer published a message just yesterday, I believe, rebutting that they don’t have enough doses and putting the logistics failure on the government, saying, “We do have enough, it’s here. Something else is going wrong.”

What do investors need to know about the situation?

Keith Speights: [Laughing] I think investors shouldn’t be too concerned about any of this. Maybe there’s a little bad blood between Pfizer and the government here.

If you recall, when Pfizer came out with those great efficacy results last month, there were some in the government who tried to take credit for Pfizer’s success, and Pfizer quickly came back and said, “Hey, we funded this ourselves, [laughs] and we took all the risk.” Some in the government said, “Oh, no. You were part of Operation Warp Speed,” and Pfizer said, “No, we really weren’t. We just received a purchase order, but all the risk was on our part.”

So I think there’s maybe a little bit of a riff here, and I think it probably manifested itself a little bit this week with HHS Secretary Azar saying that there were some distribution challenges Pfizer was experiencing. Pfizer came back and said, “No, we’ve got doses that the government hasn’t even told us where to ship.” So a little bit of contention there, but I don’t think it’s anything for investors to be concerned about at all.

Olivia Zitkus: That’s great. Pfizer maintains that they will be ready to deliver their 500 million doses globally next year and did say that they are waiting on further instructions. [laughing]

Keith Speights: Yeah. My personal opinion is I tend to believe what Pfizer is saying. [laughs] They have the vaccines after all, right? 

Olivia Zitkus: That’s true, they hold the vaccine.

Keith Speights: They have more information. [laughs]

By Keith Speights

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