The big story for Pfizer (PFE 1.29%) this week was the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the company's COVID-19 vaccine. However, Pfizer also recently won FDA approval for another vaccine. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on August 18, 2021, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss this approval and why it's a vaccine that most Americans will probably never need.
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Keith Speights: Now there's some other Pfizer news. The company announced last week, I think toward the end of last week, that the FDA had granted approval for one of its vaccines that has nothing to do with COVID-19.
This is a vaccine that it's highly unlikely that most Americans will ever need. Brian, what's the story here with this Pfizer FDA approval for a vaccine that probably most of us will never need to get at all?
Brian Orelli: The vaccine is called TicoVac, it's for tick-borne encephalitis. Encephalitis is a viral infection of the brain and nervous system. Then it's tick-borne means that the virus is coming from after you get a bite from a tick. It's not endemic in the US, but it is seen in more than 35 countries across Europe and Asia.
This vaccine is almost as old as I am and was first distributed in 1976. Pfizer has been working with the US Army to get it approved. I think the main reason here is because the military, that are serving overseas will now be able to get the vaccine in the US.
Previously they had to go someplace else where it was approved to actually get their shot and their boosters, and that didn't make a lot of sense for the military. Now they can get their vaccine doses here in the United States before they go overseas. Long story short, I don't think this is going to move the needle for Pfizer in any material way.
Speights: I have no guess what sales this vaccine would pull in for Pfizer, but it does show that even big companies like Pfizer don't always just go after the blockbuster products.
A lot of these big drugmakers have large product lineups that have quite a few products that don't necessarily generate a whole lot of sales, but they still have a market. If they can make money off of them, it's worth pursuing and that's why Pfizer has done this, it received this FDA approval.
Orelli: I imagine it's probably not that much work they have plenty of data that already showed that the vaccine worked and it obviously got approved in other countries and so it's just a matter of presenting that to the FDA.
Sounds like the US Army made probably a financial deal where the US Army paid for some or all of that application. I think it probably doesn't really cost Pfizer that much, even if they're not making very much, that the net will be a positive for Pfizer.
Speights: Yeah. If for some reason this tick ever makes its way into the US, we'll have a vaccine ready for us.
Orelli: But not in a big enough supply for all of us. [laughs]