Vaccinations are the ‘end game’ to India’s Covid crisis: Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci; image via NIH.gov

Top White House Covid adviser asks other nations to chip in with supplies for making vaccines.

Dramatically ramping up Covid-19 vaccinations is key to ending the crisis in India grappling with a deadly second wave of the pandemic, according to White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“India is the largest vaccine-producing country in the world. They’ve got to get their resources — not only from within but also from without,” he told ABC on Sunday.

“That’s the reason why other countries need to chip in to be able to get either supplies for the Indians to make their own vaccines or to get vaccines donated,” Fauci said.

“One of the ways to do that is to have the big companies that have the capability of making vaccines to really scale up in a great way to get literally hundreds of millions of doses to be able to get to them,” he said.

“The endgame of this all is going to be to get people vaccinated,” Fauci said. At the same time all of India should “shut down”, he suggested, as some Indian states have done.

Vaccines are one of the ways of “breaking the transmission”, but others “like shutting down the government” should be undertaken, he said.

READ: India should lock down, says Fauci (May 10, 2021)

“I have advised them in the past that you really need to do that. You’ve got to shut down. I believe several of the Indian states have already done that but you need to break the chain of transmission,” he said.

Fauci said that a priority for India should be to set up field hospitals like China had done.

“They have really got to get hospital beds and do really what the Chinese did way back a year or so ago, where you essentially build up with — the equivalent of field hospitals. You’ve got to get that. You can’t have people out in the street not having a hospital bed,” he said.

After Initial opposition, US now supports waiving the intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, opening the door for their possible manufacturing by companies and countries that didn’t invent them.

Asked about companies’ view that patent waivers is actually going to prevent them from scaling up, Fauci said, “I don’t think that’s the case. They can scale up.”

READ: Getting Covid in India was my life’s worst nightmare: Arjun Rao (May 10, 2021)

“They’ve done an extraordinary amount. You’ve got to give them credit. They’ve really just really done something that is really quite impressive in the way they’ve gotten their vaccine supply up and out for the rest of the world.”

“I think the waiving of the patents and the TRIPs is not going to necessarily interfere with that right now,” Fauci continued, referencing the WTO’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement, which provide global patent protections.

Meanwhile, US congresswoman Haley Stevens has urged President Joe Biden to send more direct support to India which is now the “epicenter” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This past week India registered over 400,000 daily cases. On May 4, there were 3,786 deaths, bringing the total to 226,188 fatalities.” she wrote in a letter to Biden.

READ: Covid surge, deaths in India ‘nothing short of heartbreaking’: Kamala Harris (May 8, 2021)

“The sharp increase in cases has severely strained the healthcare system, overwhelming hospitals, and depleting oxygen supplies. India is in great need of oxygen, therapeutics, and vaccines,” Stevens wrote.

Asking the White House to increase shipments of oxygen cylinders, Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and ventilators to Indian hospitals, she thanked Biden for sending over $100 million worth of relief supplies to India.

“As you continue to assess the situation in India, I urge you to consider fulfilling the additional needs outlined above.”

“As long as Covid persists in India, there is the potential for additional variants that could pose a serious threat to a vaccinated America. We must do our part to quell the virus everywhere it persists,” Stevens added.

READ MORE:

AAPI asks senators to press White House to send vaccines to India (May 7, 2021)

US firms start shipping critical Covid relief supplies to India (May 6, 2021)

US helping India significantly: Joe Biden (May 5, 2021)

Sehgal Foundation shipping oxygen concentrators to 7 Indian states (May 5, 2021)

US helping India significantly: Joe Biden (May 5, 2021)

Pfizer to donate over $70 million worth of Covid-19 drugs to India (May 3, 2021)

US pledges steadfast, ongoing support for Covid hit India (April 27, 2021)

United States offers to make vaccine ingredients available to India immediately (April 25, 2021)

Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella rushing aid to covid-hit India (April 26, 2021)

How pressure mounted on Biden administration to help India during coronavirus surge (April 25, 2021)

Vinod Khosla offers to help Indian hospitals with import of oxygen (April 24, 2021)

Covid tsunami hits India with record 332,000 daily cases (April 23, 2021)

READ: Don’t let the ‘America First’ derail India-U.S. ties (April 24, 202)

 

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