With the summer travel season in full swing, the COVID-19 pandemic may seem like a thing of the past.
But if you don’t stay up to date on your vaccines and boosters, the consequences could be dire, according to President Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“If they don’t get vaccinated or they don’t get boosted, they’re going to get into trouble,” Dr. Fauci told KNX News 97.1 — a Los Angeles radio station — earlier this week.
He points out that the vaccine and booster rates in America are “quite discouraging.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 228 million Americans (or 70% of the US population) were not up to date with COVID-19 vaccines as of July 20, 2022. Staying “up to date” on vaccines means having received the primary series and at least one booster dose.
It’s hard to say whether Dr. Fauci’s warning will lead to more Americans getting COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. But it does give investors a reason to check in on companies making those vaccines.
Right now, the most dominant strain of COVID in the US is Omicron’s BA.5 subvariant. And Moderna could help the country fight it.
Earlier this week, the company’s CEO Stéphane Bancel told Yahoo Finance that they are “working really hard” to get a variant-specific booster ready this fall.
“We are already making the BA.4/5 vaccine as we speak,” he says. “We’ll give more data as we get closer to it, but we know how important it is. And know every day matters.”
In Q2, Moderna generated $4.7 billion of total revenue, up from $4.4 billion earned a year ago. Management attributed the top line increase to higher product sales of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
But Moderna shares are not immune to the market sell-off this year. They have fallen about 20% in 2022.
Piper Sandler analyst Edward Tenthoff has an ‘overweight’ rating on Moderna and a price target of $214 — roughly 14% above where the stock sits today.
BioNTech is another big name in the COVID vaccine business.
According to Statista, more than 355,396,322 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the US as of July 20 — more than vaccines made by any other manufacturer.
On June 25, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their Omicron-adapted vaccine candidates showed a high immune response against Omicron.
There’s also hope for tackling new subvariants.
“Preliminary laboratory studies demonstrate both Omicron-adapted candidates neutralize Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 though to a lesser extent than they do for BA.1,” the companies said as they continue to “collect additional study data on Omicron BA.4 /BA.5.”
BioNTech will be reporting Q2 earnings on Monday Aug. 8 before the bell.
Previously, management said that they expect BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine revenue to come in between €13 billion and €17 billion for full-year 2022.
Last month, SVB Securities analyst Daina Graybosch upgraded BioNTech from ‘market perform’ to ‘outperform.’ Her price target of $233 on the shares implies a potential upside of 28%.
When it comes to COVID vaccine stocks, Novavax is a new name worth considering.
Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to Novavax COVID-19 vaccine Adjuvanted (NVX-CoV2373). In the critical Phase 3 clinical trial, the two-dose vaccine was 90.4% effective in preventing mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19.
“This authorization reflects the strength of our COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy and safety data, and it underscores the critical need to offer another vaccine option for the US population while the pandemic continues,” said Novavax’s president and chief executive officer Stanley C. Erck in a press release.
Novavax shares, however, have been pummeled — it’s down a staggering 57% year to date.
B. Riley Securities analyst Mayank Mamtani sees a rebound on the horizon. He has a Buy rating on Novavax and a price target of $171.
Considering that Novavax currently trades at around $60 per share, Mamtani’s price target implies a potential upside of 185%.
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