Dr. Fauci on India’s extension in the vaccine gap, says “very reasonable approach”


The only way for India to stabilize and get the country out of this menacing situation is to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible. And for this, the country has to boost its vaccination drive.

On Thursday, May 13, the Indian government announced the extension in the gap between the first and second dose of Covisheild from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks.

This move was greatly appreciated by the White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci, mentioning that it is a “very reasonable approach”, in an interview on Thursday, April 13.

“When you are in a very difficult situation, the way you are in India, you have to try and figure out ways to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as you can, so I believe that it is a reasonable approach to do,” Fauci said.

By extending the gap, the first dose of the vaccines can be given to more people, which at the given time, where there is a shortage of vaccine is a very sensible move by the government.

This is for the second time in three months that Covishield dosage intervals have been widened and this move has once again garnered criticism, as a cover-up for not having enough vaccines for the people in India. However, Dr Fauci said that this “extended interval” is beneficial even from the efficacy standpoint.

“The fact that you delay it that long, it is very unlikely that it would have a negative effect on the efficacy of the vaccine. I would not refer to it as a cover-up when you don’t have enough vaccines,” said Fauci.

India is most likely to roll out Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus to be administered to citizens starting next week. With this, India will now have three vaccines to boost its mega vaccination drive which was recently opened for those above 18 years.

When asked about the efficacy of the Sputnik V Vaccine, “I’ve heard about the Sputnik, is that, it seems to be quite efficacious, at a high level of close to 90 percent or so,” Fauci responded.

While replying to a query on resuming travel to India amid the pandemic, Fauci said, “It really is going to depend on the level of infection right now. India has a very very high level of infection. And that would mean that it would be very very difficult to resume travel there right now.”

As more people around the world become vaccinated and the summer travel season is approaching, countries around the world are scrambling to get digital health certification programs or Vaccine passports in place.

However, Fauci says that US borders will not have the vaccine passport mandate. “Several of the airlines may say you’re not going to be able to fly on our flight, unless you have a verification that you’ve been vaccinated, in essence- a vaccine passport, but again to repeat that at least in the United State-that is not going to be mandated from a federal standpoint.”