What happened

Shares of several leading COVID-19 vaccine makers were falling as of 11:38 a.m. ET on Monday. Pfizer (PFE 0.91%) stock was down 3.5%. Shares of BioNTech (BNTX 0.29%) and Moderna (MRNA -1.11%) were sinking 7.6% and 8.2%, respectively.

However, Pfizer and BioNTech actually had good news. The two partners announced this morning that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • Expanded Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for boosters of the companies' COVID-19 vaccine to include children ages 12 and older.
  • Revised the time for booster doses from six months to five months following completion of the primary series for everyone ages 12 and up.
  • Expanded the current EUA to include a third booster dose at least 28 days following the second dose for kids ages five through 11 who are immunocompromised.

Moderna's only news today wasn't bad. The company announced that its CEO will present at the virtual J. P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Jan. 10, 2022.

So why are these vaccine stocks tumbling today? Investors appear to be looking past the current surge in COVID-19 cases and expect a future where fewer vaccine doses are administered.

A healthcare professional giving a shot to a person in the arm while another healthcare professional watches.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Investors should always look forward. And the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses sold by Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna could very well decline significantly after 2022 (or perhaps 2023).

However, it's still way too early to know for sure how the dynamics of the COVID-19 market will play out. Hopefully, the pandemic will soon end. Even if it does, though, there's still a real possibility that COVID-19 will become endemic and still require one or two boosters each year.

Let's suppose, though, that vaccine sales do dwindle significantly after this year. Each of these companies will be impacted in different ways. Pfizer still has plenty of other products on the market to cushion the blow. BioNTech and Moderna don't.

Yet Pfizer's shares are still falling -- but nearly half as much as BioNTech and Moderna stocks this morning. That might not seem to make sense, considering the positive news. However, Pfizer stock is up over the last month while the other two vaccine stocks have plunged more than 20%. 

Now what

Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character in the movie Jerry Maguire had a famous line that seems applicable for Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna: "Show me the money." The main thing for investors to watch with all three companies is the money -- in particular, supply deals for COVID-19 vaccines for beyond 2022.

If Pfizer-BioNTech and/or Moderna land significant contracts, it will show that governments remain concerned about the future impact of the coronavirus. On the other hand, if such supply deals are few and far between, the gravy train these companies have been riding could slow down dramatically, even if it doesn't grind to a screeching halt.