With funding for additional COVID-19 support at a stalemate in Congress, a new KFF analysis looks at potential scenarios that United States might face if a 4th COVID-19 vaccine dose is recommended to the public. The analysis finds that the U.S. government does not have enough funding to purchase vaccine doses remaining to fully cover the population under any of the predicted scenarios.
If 4th doses are authorized and recommended for all ages, there will be a deficit of almost half a billion doses to cover everyone, including fully vaccinating those not yet up to date with their vaccinations. If 4th doses are provided only to people ages 65 and older, the deficit would be 162.5 million doses with the current supply.
Under a scenario where enough doses are purchased to vaccinate 70% of the population, the U.S. would still experience a vaccine supply deficit of 118.3 million doses to provide 4th doses to people of all ages.
Currently, there are only enough doses in the existing supply to provide 70% of those ages 65 and older with a 4th dose. To date, 65% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated.
The additional funding necessary to accommodate a 4th dose ranges from about half a billion dollars to over $9 billion, depending on the recommendations for different age groups and whether the doses are for the lower-priced Moderna vaccine or the higher-priced Pfizer shot.