Story at a glance
- About 67 percent of the population of Seychelles is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
- A majority of those vaccinated received the Chinese government-funded COVID-19 vaccine, Sinopharm.
- A surge in so-called breakthrough cases is leading to debate over the vaccine’s effectiveness.
The 115-island archipelago Seychelles, the world's most vaccinated country, has seen a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, reaching "a higher number of infections per capita than India," according to the Wall Street Journal.
What’s alarming to some is that, according to Seychelles’s Ministry of Health, more than one-third of the new cases are people who have been fully vaccinated.
At this time, about 67 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated. Of those vaccinated, a majority have received the Chinese government-funded Sinopharm vaccine. Others in the country have received a derivative of the AstraZeneca vaccine called Covishield, which is manufactured in India.
Though not much data is available on the vaccine’s efficacy in people over 60, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave the green light on Friday for the emergency use of the Sinopharm vaccine globally. The authorization was granted to "alleviate a severe shortage of doses in the developing world, as vaccine exports from COVID-19-struck India grind to a halt," according to the Wall Street Journal.
Kate O'Brien, director of immunizations, vaccines and biologicals for the WHO, said a majority of Seychelles's cases are mild and noted the timeline of when some who received the vaccine became infected.
"The Sinopharm vaccine really requires two doses, and some of the cases that are being reported are occurring either soon after a single dose or soon after a second dose," she said.
Last month, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the country’s vaccines, including Sinopharm, provide only low-level protection against the coronavirus.
It’s been speculated that the low level of effectiveness could be tied to the fact that the Sinopharm vaccine is inactivated, utilizing a dead version of the germ or virus, which typically isn’t as effective or long-lasting as live vaccines.
In order to suppress the surge of new cases, the Seychelles government has established new preventative COVID-19 measures, including early restaurant closures and no inter-household socializing.
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