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The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it would examine coronavirus data from Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, after the health ministry said more than a third of people tested positive for Covid-19 in the week before May 8 had been fully vaccinated.
Seychelles is considered to have carried out a very successful vaccination deployment so far; he can boast of having the largest share of people vaccinated against Covid-19 in the world, above Israel and the UK
The Seychelles health ministry reported a sharp increase in the number of cases on Monday. Of 120 new cases reported on April 30, a week later, more than 300 cases per day were recorded on May 7 and May 8, respectively.
The ministry noted that, among patients requiring hospital treatment, 80% had not been vaccinated and tended to be people with co-morbidities. He added that “almost all” critical and severe cases requiring intensive care treatment had also not been vaccinated. To date, none of the patients who died with Covid-19 have been fully vaccinated, he said.
While there was a flattening of new cases on May 7 and 8 (with 317 new cases reported and then 314 cases, respectively), the health ministry said “the rate of transmission remains high and is of concern.”
The situation certainly alarmed experts, especially since 60% of the total Seychelles population has been fully vaccinated. In addition, 86% of Seychelles’ target population for vaccination – 70,000 people – have been fully vaccinated to date, according to ministry data.
What the WHO thinks
“As has been noted, vaccines are very effective against severe cases and death. Most of the cases that have occurred are mild cases. However, what is also important is that a substantial fraction, over 80% of the population, has been vaccinated. But as we know… some of the reported cases occur either shortly after a single dose, shortly after a second dose, or between the first and second dose. “
She said that in this specific situation, a very detailed assessment was needed “of what the situation is, first what are the strains circulating in the country, second when the cases occur versus when someone? one received doses, thirdly how serious the cases are. “
“It is only by doing this type of assessment that we will be able to determine whether these are vaccine failures or not or whether they are more the types of cases that are occurring, the end of the milder cases and when cases occur versus when individuals received doses. This assessment is ongoing and we are supporting and collaborating with the country to understand the situation. “
CNBC has contacted WHO for updated comments on the situation in Seychelles but has yet to receive a response.
Restrictions on social contact as well as good personal hygiene are still considered the basis for preventing the spread. Seychelles last week reimposed restrictions on some social gatherings and public spaces in an attempt to curb the spread.
The situation facing islanders is a reminder that no vaccine against the coronavirus currently in use has been shown to be 100% effective in preventing Covid-19 infection. Yet all vaccines currently authorized for use by the WHO have been shown to be very, if not extremely effective in preventing serious Covid infections, with dramatically reduced cases, hospitalizations and deaths in countries with advanced vaccination programs. , like the UK.
With a third wave of cases and new virus variants likely to cause further loss of life and economic destruction, time is of the essence to approve and distribute life-saving vaccines worldwide, the more, the better. this is.
WHO on Friday granted emergency use authorization to Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company SinoPharm, an initiative that could accelerate the use of the vaccine in WHO’s COVAX program, which aims to provide countries the poorest have access to vaccines.
The WHO said the addition of the SinoPharm vaccine had “the potential to rapidly accelerate access to the Covid-19 vaccine for countries seeking to protect health workers and populations at risk.”
He noted that the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization had completed a review of the vaccine and, based on all available data, recommended it for adults 18 years and older, according to a report. two-dose schedule spaced three to three times. four weeks.
“The effectiveness of the vaccine for symptomatic and hospitalized diseases has been estimated at 79%, all age groups combined,” he said. However, he noted that “few older adults (over 60) were recruited into clinical trials, so efficacy could not be estimated in this age group.
In March, AstraZeneca released an update of the clinical trial date that showed its vaccine to be 76% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 infection. The vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been shown to be approximately 95% effective.