In an Interview with ANI on Thursday, White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said: Dramatically ramping up COVID-19 vaccination drive is key to ending the crisis in India and extending the gap between two doses of Covishield is a reasonable approach.”
Dr Fauci said: “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.”
“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,” Dr Fauci told ANI.
On Thursday, the Government of India announced that the gap between the first and second doses of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine has been increased to 12-16 weeks – from the existing 6-8 weeks. 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.
Dr Fauci, one of COVID’s most trusted names, suggests that India should step up the role of the armed forces in combating COVID-19.
Dr Fauci said: “You can use the military sometimes to get things done quickly that you otherwise in the private sector would not be able to, for example, I know that there’s a shortage of hospital beds right now that people who need to be in a hospital or not getting into a hospital because of the shortage of the beds, you can get the military to put up field hospitals, the same way they would during time of war, that could serve as a substitute for the classic hospital.”
While replying to a query on resuming travel to India amid the pandemic, Dr 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.”
However, Dr 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.”