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COVID-19 vaccine | Dr Fauci says extending Covishield dose gap a 'reasonable approach'

The Centre on May 13 extended the interval between two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks from the current gap of six-eight weeks.

May 14, 2021 / 11:02 AM IST
Dr Fauci, who is the Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is also the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.

Dr Fauci, who is the Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is also the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.

The Indian government's move to extend the gap between doses of the Covishield coornavirus vaccine is a "reasonable approach", White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci has 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," Fauci told news agency ANI.

The Centre on May 13 extended the interval between two doses of Covishield, the local name for the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, to 12-16 weeks from the current gap of six-eight weeks.

Fauci told ANI that extending the gap would improve the vaccine's efficacy, adding that he didn't view it as a cover-up for the shortage of doses.

"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.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Several states have been forced to rework their vaccination plans as the country faces a shortfall in jabs. The ferocity of the second wave has also seen more people shun vaccine hesitancy. Many states have put on hold the vaccination of 18-44 age group that started on May 1, prioritising the second dose for frontline workers and  those aged above 45.

Fauci also commented on Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, which has been given Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in India.

"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," he said.

Dr VK Paul, chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, said on May 13 that Sputnik V would likely to be available in the market from next week.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 14, 2021 11:01 am

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