Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Medical syringe is seen with Moderna company logo displayed on a screen in the background in this illustration photo taken in Poland on June 12, 2020. (Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

'Taking Taxpayers for a Ride': Moderna to Charge $32-$37/Dose for Covid-19 Vaccine Developed Entirely With Public Funds

"It ought to be the people's vaccine, not a new taxpayer burden."

Jake Johnson

Consumer advocates warned Wednesday that pharmaceutical giant Moderna is "taking taxpayers for a ride" after the company announced plans to charge between $32 and $37 per dose for a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed entirely with funds from the U.S. federal government.

"Taxpayers are paying for 100% of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine development. All of it," Peter Maybarduk, director of the Access to Medicines Program at Public Citizen, said in a statement. "Yet taxpayers may wind up paying tens of billions more to Moderna to buy our vaccine back, if it proves safe and effective."

"Taxpayers are paying for 100% of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine development. All of it. Yet taxpayers may wind up paying tens of billions more to Moderna to buy our vaccine back."
—Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen

"The so-called Moderna vaccine belongs in significant part to the people of the U.S," said Maybarduk. "We paid for it. Federal scientists led the way. It ought to be the people's vaccine, not a new taxpayer burden."

The experimental vaccine is currently undergoing a Phase 3 clinical trial that is expected to enroll around 30,000 adult volunteers who do not have Covid-19, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Trial results are expected as early as October.

"Results from early-stage clinical testing indicate the investigational mRNA-1273 vaccine is safe and immunogenic, supporting the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical trial," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement last week.

Under pressure from advocacy groups to publicly disclose how its potential vaccine is being financed, Moderna told Axios Wednesday that U.S. taxpayers are providing "100% funding of the program."

Since April, the Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company has received nearly a billion dollars in taxpayer grants to develop a vaccine as part of the Trump administration's so-called Operation Warp Speed.

"The company received $483 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in April to support its vaccine development," CNBC reported. "Last month, it announced it received an additional $472 million from the U.S. government."

Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, wrote in a blog post Wednesday that "this funding paid for the research and testing" and "it also meant that the government took all the risk."

"If Moderna's vaccine turns out to be ineffective," wrote Baker, "the government will be out the money, not Moderna."

Despite the fact that Moderna's price tag for its coronavirus vaccine is the highest yet announced by any corporation involved with Operation Warp Speed, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel on Wednesday characterized the cost as a discount during a conference call announcing the company's massive second-quarter revenue increase.

But Public Citizen noted the absurdity of charging the public anything at all for a vaccine developed entirely with taxpayer funding.

"They want us to buy back a vaccine developed with our tax dollars," the group tweeted.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'This Cannot Happen': Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians.

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Vaccine Goals 'Fall Terribly Short' Due to Big Pharma and Rich Nations' Greed: Experts

"Wealthy nations are using up the world's vaccine supply, and developing nations are suffering and losing thousands of people every day."

Brett Wilkins ·


11 Senators Support House Progressives' Push to Pass Full Biden Agenda

"We voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the clear commitment that the two pieces of the package would move together along a dual track."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ex-Prisoners Recall US Torture at 'Afghanistan's Abu Ghraib'

"It is psychologically hard for me to recall all that was happening," said one former Bagram Air Base inmate. "The torture was mostly done by Afghans, sometimes the Americans. But the orders came from the U.S."

Brett Wilkins ·


Rapid Shift to Electric Vehicles Could Create Over 150,000 Jobs in US by 2030

A new report says "smart" pro-labor policies by lawmakers would transform the "inevitable" shift to EVs "into a new beginning for U.S. producers and the rebuilding of a foundation for good jobs."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo