What happened

Several leading COVID-19 vaccine makers saw their stocks slip on Friday morning. Shares of BioNTech (BNTX -0.61%) were falling 4.6% as of 10:58 a.m. EDT. Moderna (MRNA -1.75%) stock was sliding 2.6% lower. Shares of Novavax (NVAX -0.47%) were down 1.7% after slipping as much as 2.4% earlier in the day.

However, there was one notable exception to the downward trend. Ocugen (OCGN 1.18%), which owns U.S. and Canadian marketing rights to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, saw its shares rise 1.9% after climbing as much as 5% earlier.

Investors appeared to be skittish about vaccine stocks today for one main reason. An advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is discussing booster doses for Comirnaty, the COVID-19 vaccine sold by Pfizer (PFE -1.82%) and BioNTech. It's possible that the panel won't recommend boosters for all Americans as the Biden administration wants. 

On the other hand, investors appear to be more bullish about Ocugen for a different reason. The World Health Organization is expected to soon grant Emergency Use Listing for Covaxin.

A healthcare professional giving a shot to a person.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

The FDA advisory committee recommendation actually should have minimal short-term financial impact on BioNTech and Pfizer. For one thing, the FDA doesn't have to go along with the panel's recommendation. More importantly, the U.S. has already purchased enough doses from the companies to provide boosters to all Americans. 

Moderna and Novavax are affected even less than BioNTech by the FDA committee's decision. There will be another meeting in the near future to discuss Moderna's booster. Novavax hasn't even filed for U.S. Emergency Use Authorization yet for its COVID-19 vaccine.

On a similar note, the WHO decision on EUL for Covaxin won't impact Ocugen very much either. Ocugen only has commercialization rights for the vaccine in the U.S. and Canadian markets. It's unlikely that regulators in either country will be swayed in any way by whatever the WHO decides.

Now what

For BioNTech and Moderna, the most important things to watch for are potential new supply deals for their respective vaccines. Approvals of boosters might not make a difference over the short term, but they could be huge over the long term.

Novavax and Ocugen would also like to pick up supply deals of their own. However, they must first win EUAs for their vaccine candidates. Novavax hopes to soon file for EUA in several countries. Ocugen awaits a decision by Canadian regulators.