How much should it cost the average American to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot in the arm?

Although a vaccine is months away, if not longer, billions of tax dollars are spent to rapidly research, develop, manufacture and distribute several candidates. The federal government promised to make a vaccine free for people of low income. How many taxpayer dollars would enable everyone to get it without paying?

That’s not clear, in part because the government hasn’t released the details of its contracts with vaccine developers, five of which will update members of Congress this morning on their efforts.

Drug companies should make some profit, because they’ve redirected thousands of employees to developing a COVID-19 vaccine in recent months, economists argue. If they don’t make any money on the vaccine effort, they might be less likely to step up the next time the world is in dire need.

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