Moderna (MRNA 1.59%) recently announced an expanded supply deal with the Canadian government. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Aug. 18, 2021, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli talk about the most important aspect of this agreement.
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Keith Speights: Moderna had its own news earlier this week. The company that announced an expanded supply deal with Canada and this deal goes through 2024. What are the key takeaways from this latest agreement, Brian, and does it make much of a difference for the company at all?
Brian Orelli: Yes. That deal covers the vaccine or the booster if that eventually gets approved in Canada. It's for 35 million doses each year, and that breaks down to 20 million doses in 2022 and 2023 with an option for the other 15 million doses for each of those years.
Then in 2024, the whole thing is an option for the government for the whole 35 million doses. The price wasn't given so we can't really tell what the benefit is to Moderna financially. Although if we assume $20 a dose, that's over $600 million, so not a trivial amount of money.
I think the telling thing here is that the Canadian government has committed to 20 million doses in both 2022 and 2023. That's the minimum that they're going to buy, and the population of Canada is 37.6 million, so at least the majority of its citizens are going to get boosters in both 2022 and 2023, according to that order that the Canadian government has put in.
Speights: Yeah, and you mentioned that there's that option for up to 35 million doses in 2024. Which is interesting to me as well. I think a lot of analysts, there's been a lot of uncertainty, I guess, in terms of how long will the gravy train last for Moderna and for Pfizer for their COVID-19 vaccines.
I think everyone was anticipating obviously 2021 is the big year, 2022 will be a big year, but there's a lot of uncertainty about 2023 and beyond. This deal at least hints that the Canadian government at minimum is anticipating, there really could be a need for booster doses, maybe annual doses beyond next year.
Orelli: Yeah. I think the 20 million definite commitment in 2023 says a lot about what they think in 2023. The option in 2024, I think is to the government's advantage, and they're not committing any money at that point. So I don't think we can say much about 2024, but they definitely think that they're going to need doses for 2023 or at least one of them on hand in case they need them. I think that's a telling sign.
Speights: Brian, I know that the U.S. government has placed some orders that do go into 2022, and off the top of my head I don't think that the U.S. has done any deals that go beyond 2022. Do you think we're going to see that happen pretty quickly?
Orelli: Yeah, I think probably we're going to start seeing other countries scrambling to get into 2023, at least. Yes, I think this was so with the booster doses getting approved, I think that's probably a big sign that booster doses are going to happen and potentially annually.
We just really don't know, but probably it's better for the governments to scramble and get the supplies and their contract and pay whatever they're going to pay even if they don't need it. Potentially, they can just donate it to other countries that may need it. Because other countries are going to be behind us. Even if we don't need boosters in 2022 or 2023, maybe the people who are getting their first doses in 2022, will they need the boosters in 2023.