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Pfizer anticipates manufacturing 4 billion doses of its vaccine next year. Photo: Chet Strange/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pfizer expects revenue from the COVID-19 vaccine, co-developed by BioNTech, will reach $33.5 billion this year — a 29% jump from the previously estimated $26 billion.

Why it matters: This vaccine, which has dramatically slowed the coronavirus pandemic, is on pace to be the world's top-selling drug of all time, by far. And now Pfizer is pushing for people to get a third "booster" shot of its vaccine to combat the growing Delta variant.

By the numbers: Pfizer registered $7.8 billion of COVID-19 vaccine sales in the second quarter, bringing total worldwide sales so far this year to $11.3 billion.

  • Pfizer expects to deliver 2.1 billion doses this year and has the capacity to manufacture 4 billion doses next year, CEO Albert Bourla said on a conference call.
  • The U.S. previously paid $19.50 per dose for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but Pfizer recently raised the price to the government to $24 per dose.
  • Flashback: Last year, Bourla said the company would not put a "huge price" on the vaccine, "because that's really taking advantage of a situation, and people will not forget if you do that."

Driving the news: Pfizer said it has new data showing a third dose of its vaccine increases antibody levels significantly against the Delta variant.

  • Pfizer has a financial interest in people, especially Americans, getting a third dose, as it would grow revenues even more.
  • However, epidemiologists have pointed out that higher antibody levels do not mean higher protection, and Pfizer's two-dose schedule is already effective against the coronavirus, including the Delta variant.

The big picture: A majority of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has gone to wealthy countries, whose governments pay higher prices for drugs than lower-income countries.

  • Many lower-income countries have started demanding more doses as their coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise.
  • "Africa was largely spared by the pandemic in 2020, but not this year. We lack vaccines, and we are gasping for air," Mosoka Fallah, former director-general of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, said this week.

What to watch: Moderna reports vaccine sales and earnings Aug. 5.

  • Johnson & Johnson said it expects its COVID-19 vaccine will generate $2.5 billion of sales this year.

Go deeper

Biden sets a hard deadline for vaccine mandates

President Joe Biden spoke Wednesday about the authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden will announce Thursday that certain employers must ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or tested weekly by Jan. 4, 2022, or face federal fines starting at nearly $14,000 per violation, according to senior administration officials.

The big picture: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will enforce the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, which affects about two-thirds of all U.S. workers.

WHO: Europe is again at epicenter of pandemic

World Health Organization European director Hans Kluge. Photo: Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Europe is "back at the epicenter of the pandemic" and approaching record COVID-19 case numbers as the Delta variant spreads and vaccination efforts stall in several regions, a top World Health Organization official warned Thursday.

The big picture: Germany reported Thursday its highest number of new coronavirus infections in one day since the pandemic began (33,949). New cases across Europe have risen 55% in the past four weeks, per WHO European director Hans Kluge. "We are at another critical point of pandemic resurgence," he warned.

Pediatric COVID vaccines arrive in Texas

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Texas health officials have asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 900 providers in 155 Texas counties over the next week.

Driving the news: The FDA expanded its emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to include children ages 5-11, and the CDC on Tuesday endorsed the two-dose regimen for kids, the final step in the approval process. Vaccine doses started showing up in Texas on Monday.