- Six fully vaccinated people have died from COVID-19 in Seychelles, the public health commissioner said.
- Five had obtained Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca shot, and one had obtained the Sinopharm shot.
- All of those who died had underlying health issues, the commissioner said.
Six people have died from COVID-19 in Seychelles despite having been fully vaccinated, the country’s public health commissioner said on Thursday.
Jude Gedeon said five of the people received Covishield, a version of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine made in India, and one received China’s Sinopharm vaccine, Bloomberg reported.
All six people had underlying health issues, he said. It was not known how long after the vaccination people died. In Seychelles, the Covishield bite has mainly been given to people over the age of 60, Gedeon said.
Seychelles is the world leader in immunization rates, having fully immunized 68% of its 98,000 population. By comparison, Israel, a country hailed for its vaccination success, has fully vaccinated 59% of its population, according to Our World in Data at the University of Oxford. The world average is 11%.
Gedeon said a recent spike in infections was likely caused by the highly infectious Delta variant, first found in India, which is spreading rapidly across the world. Prior to that, the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, was dominant. Both strains have mutations that help the virus escape the antibody response, reducing the effectiveness of vaccines.
Other countries with high vaccination rates, such as Israel, have reported an increase in cases driven by the Delta variant but not a large increase in deaths.
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Seychelles’ health ministry said on May 10 that about a third of active COVID-19 cases were in fully vaccinated people. At the time, most of the people in the country had received the vaccine from Sinopharm.
Seychelles had reported more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases and 68 deaths as of Monday, according to ministry data. It has the highest proportion of newly confirmed infections of any country – on Tuesday it had a seven-day average of 1,393 daily new cases of coronavirus per million people, while the United States average was 37 new cases, according to Our World in Data.
Seychelles has imposed restrictions on gatherings and bar opening hours in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.
Gedeon said Seychelles was working with experts from the World Health Organization and the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess the country’s vaccination rate, data and response. “They will produce a report that will help us decide what strategy to use to move forward in terms of vaccination, measures, etc.” He said, according to Bloomberg.