Amid the furore over the extension of the gap between two doses of Covishield, White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said that it is a 'reasonable approach'. He said that if one is in a situation that India finds itself in currently, then one would have to try and figure out other ways to get as many as possible vaccinated.
"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," Dr Fauci said in an interview to news agency ANI.
The comments come after the government announced on Thursday that the gap between two doses of Covishield has been increased to 12-16 weeks from the current 6-8 weeks.
Dr Fauci said that this 'extended interval' is beneficial even from the efficacy standpoint amid criticism that the extension is a cover-up for vaccine shortage. "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," he said.
Speaking about Russia's Sputnik V vaccine that has landed in India and has been rolled out under the vaccination programme today, Dr Fauci said that the vaccine seems to be "quite efficacious, at a high level of close to 90 per cent or so".
The doctor also said that India should step up the role of the armed forces in battling COVID-19. He said the military sometimes get things done quickly that the private sector.
Speaking on resuming travel amid the pandemic, Dr Fauci said that it all depends on the level of infection. "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," he said.