Top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci on Friday, 14 May, said that the recent guideline of the Indian government to extend the duration between two vaccine doses to 12-16 weeks against the earlier approach of 8-12 weeks is a “reasonable” move amid vaccine shortage.
In a conversation with ANI, Fauci also said that India must collaborate with other countries to ramp up vaccine supply and production.
“When there's vaccine shortage, extending duration between the first and the second dose to get more people to get the first dose is a reasonable approach. It is unlikely that a long delay would have a negative effect on vaccine efficacy. Wouldn't refer to it as a cover-up,” he said, commenting on reports of the delay being suggested because of shortage of vaccines.
‘India Must Collaborate With Other Nations to Ramp up Vaccine Supply’
While India on Thursday, 13 May, said that it looks to produce over 200 crore doses of various vaccines by December 2021, Fauci said that India must use some available resources for its own people.
“You (India) have got to work out arrangements with countries and companies while ramping up your capability of making vaccines. India is one of the best if not the biggest vaccine producers. You have got to use some resources for your people.” he told ANI, adding that rich countries and nations that have the capability of making and distributing vaccines, have a moral responsibility to assist countries that don't have that capability, particularly the low and middle-income countries.
Commenting on the efficacy of India’s Covaxin, Fauci said that he doesn’t have much information about it, but expressed confidence in Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine that India will start administering beginning next week.
“I don't have much information on Covaxin, but what I do know is Sputnik V seems to be quite efficacious, at a high level of close to 90% or so, but I don't have enough information on the Covaxin,” he told ANI.
Dr Fauci also ruled out the resumption of travel from India to the US in the near future, as the number of cases in the country is very high.
“Vaccine passport isn't going to be mandated from a federal standpoint in the US. Travel is going to depend on the level of infection. India has a very high level of infection. It would be difficult to resume travel there right now,” he said.
India Looks To Produce Over 200 Cr Doses by December
India will produce 216 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines between August-December, the Centre said on Thursday.
Niti Aayog’s VK Paul on Thursday said that “there should be no doubt that vaccine will be available for all as we move forward”.
These vaccines include 75 crore doses of Covidshield, 55 crore doses of Covaxin, 30 crore doses of Bio E Sub vaccine, 20 crore SII- NOVAVAX, 10 crore BB Nasal vaccine, and 0.6 crore of Genova mNRA vaccine.
. Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.Delaying Second Dose a Reasonable Approach: Top US Expert Dr FauciFully-Vaccinated Americans Don’t Need Masks in Most Places: US CDC . Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.