Moderna Stock Slides on Japan Vaccine Suspension, Pfizer Edges Lower

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“The benefits of vaccination with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine continue to greatly outweigh the risk of both COVID-19 infection and vaccine side-effects,” New Zealand’s health ministry said.

Moderna  (MRNA) – Get Moderna, Inc. Report shares slumped lower Monday, while Pfizer  (PFE) – Get Pfizer Inc. Report edged into the red, as investors reacted to headline risk linked to the drugmakers’ coronavirus vaccines in Asia and the Pacific region.

Japan suspended another batch of Moderna vaccines Sunday following the discovery of contaminants in vials near the capital city of Tokyo. Authorities have pulled more than 2.6 million Moderna vaccine doses in total, but have indicated that as many as 500,000 people could have received shots from potentially tainted supplies.

The news comes as Japan continues to struggle with the latest coronavirus wave, with monthly infections passing 25,000 for the first time ever as the Delta variant continues to accelerate around the Asia region.

Moderna said earlier this week that the contamination could have come from the manufacturing sites of its Spanish partner, Rovi, which bottles the vaccine for non-U.S. markets.

Meanwhile, reports in New Zealand suggest one person has died as a result of a myocarditis linked Pfizer’s recently-approved “Comiranty” COVID vaccine.

Moderna shares were marked 4.2% lower in early trading Monday to change hands at $366.10 each, a move that would still leave the stock with the S&P 500’s best year-to-date gain of around 238%.

Pfizer shares, meanwhile, edged 0.05% lower to indicate an opening bell price of $46.55 each. 

Last week, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued its formal approval for the drugmaker’s coronavirus vaccine in a move that marked the agency’s first full authorization since granting emergency use permission late last year.

The FDA said the vaccine, which Pfizer produces alongside its German partner BioNTech BNTX, can now be marketed at “Comiranty” and will be eligible for use by all U.S. citizens over the age of 16.

Last month, Pfizer said sales of its vaccine, first labelled as BNT162b2 when it was granted Emergency Use Authorization late last year, could reach $33.5 billion this year as it boosted it 2021 earnings forecast to between $3.95 and $4.05 per share.

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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