Seychelles Says Shots Work Amid Surge in Most-Vaccinated Nation

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Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan said vaccines that have been widely administered to the nation’s population are working even as the Indian Ocean archipelago experiences a surge in coronavirus cases.

The country has fully inoculated 62.2% of its population, the biggest proportion of any nation, issuing them with either Sinopharm shots or Covishield vaccines that are made under license from AstraZeneca Plc. Even so, its number of active cases more than doubled to 2,486 in the week to May 10, and 37% of those patients had received two doses.

Most infections have been mild, according to Ramkalawan.

Seychelles Says Shots Work Amid Surge in Most-Vaccinated Nation

“Imagine if we did not have our people vaccinated?” he said in an interview late Tuesday. “We have only a few people needing intensive care.”

Read more: Do Seychelles Virus Cases Mean Vaccines Are Flawed? Unlikely

Seychelles, a palm-fringed archipelago of 115 islands, raced to inoculate its 98,000 people so it could reopen to the tourists who are the lifeblood of its economy. The economy contracted 13% in 2020 and in January the government announced that it faced a revenue shortfall triggered by the pandemic.

“The population was shocked seeing the figures released by the Ministry of Health on Monday, but life continues the same,” Ramkalawan said. “Fishermen are at sea, all government offices are functioning, although some workers are working from home.”

The president attributed the increased transmission of the virus to the population letting down its guard as the vaccine program progressed. The islands have so far recorded 8,172 infections and 28 deaths.

Forty people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in Seychelles and two of those are in intensive care, said Danny Louange, chief executive officer of the Public Health Agency.

The World Health Organization said this week that vaccine failure couldn’t be determined without a detailed assessment, adding that it was working on evaluating the situation.

Seychelles last week re-imposed curbs, including closing schools, canceling sports events and banning mingling of households.

“Our economy is moving and we reassure the world that we are well equipped to manage the Covid-19 situation and will in the near future start vaccinating children aged 15 years and above,” Ramkalawan said.

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