Demand for Pfizer’s Covid vaccine could bolster its revenues for years, the US drugs giant has said.

Pfizer said it was expecting “durable demand” for the vaccine, in a similar way to flu vaccines. In the first three months of 2021, the vaccine generated revenues of $3.5bn (£2.5bn) as governments scrambled to try to contain the pandemic.

Revenue from the treatment is expected to hit $26bn this year – accounting for more than one-third of Pfizer’s sales. The forecast is based on already-signed contracts for 1.6 billion vaccine doses to be delivered this year.

Pfizer said it expected to sign more deals this year and was in supply talks with several countries for 2022 and beyond.