The fact that COVID-19 is surging in Seychelles is a sad reflection that all vaccinations are not created equal.
COVID-19 Rising Rapidly In Seychelles, Despite Vaccination Success
In terms of population share, Seychelles had vaccinated more citizens than any other nation, even Israel. More than 50% are fully-vaccinated and more than 70% have received at least one jab. Of higher-risk groups, 86% has been fully-vaccinated.
However, COVID-19 cases are up and more than a third of those who tested positive last week had been fully vaccinated. Does this paint a dangerous omen about the efficacy of vaccinations, validating all the skeptics?
No. The majority of vaccinated people have received China’s Sinopharm vaccine (57%) or a version of the AstraZeneca shot known as Covishield and produced in India (43%).
Of the recent surge, no patient who received both doses of the vaccination died and “almost all” those with serious cases had not been vaccinated.
It is not clear (yet) if those who contracted COVID-19 had received Sinopharm versus Covishield. The WHO cautions that we should not jump to conclusions, noting:
“As was noted, the vaccines are highly efficacious against severe cases and deaths. Most of the cases which 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 cases that are being reported are occurring either soon after a single dose, or soon after a second dose, or between the first and second doses.”
But it should be noted that not all vaccines are created equal. While Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been found to be 95% effective, AstraZeneca reported a 76% effective rate in its clinical studies. Meanwhile, the Sinopharm is 79% effective.
Those are still respectable numbers. Getting a Chinese jab is far better than no jab at all. But it does underscore that vaccines remain just a tool, albeit a powerful tool, in the fight against the pandemic – they are not our only tool.
Similar patterns are occurring in Maldives and more recently in Chile (though numbers there are dropping again there). Both nations heavily relied on Chinese-made vaccines to vaccinate their citizens. The bottom line is this: the fight against COVID-19 is not over and it is appearing increasingly likely that not all vaccinations are created equal. While I’d take whatever vaccination I could get, Pfizer and BioNTech have demonstrated far better results…