On May 13, the Indian government increased the gap between the two Covishield doses from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks. The gap for the doses of the same vaccine was initially 28 days. Sceptics questioned if this increase in dosage interval was to cover up for the low availability of vaccines in India.
However, in an interview with ANI, the United States’ top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said that the government’s move was “reasonable” as it would ensure that more people got at least one dose of the vaccine. He further added that it was unlikely that a long delay would have a negative impact on the vaccine’s efficacy.
“When you do not have enough vaccines, what you gotta do is try to get enough people vaccinated as you possibly can, and for that reason, when you have a shortage of vaccines, extending the duration between the first and the second dose in order to get more people to at least get a first dose is a reasonable approach. 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. So, in many respects, 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 vaccines into people as quickly as you can.”, Dr Fauci said.
Acknowledging the size of India’s population and the challenge that lies ahead in vaccinating the country fully, Dr Fauci said India should work out arrangements with other countries and other companies while also ramping up its own capability of making vaccines. He also added that India is one of the best if not the biggest vaccine producer in the world.