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…
Based on what we know so far it seems,
– A real world demonstration that some vaccines are potentially less effective against new variants [though of course both AZ and Sinopharm were less effective than the mRNA vaccines against pre-existing variants, and immune response among older people was weak enough with Sinopharm that the UAE was giving out third shots as boosters in some cases]
– They still appear to be effective mitigating bad outcomes, it’s less cases that matter and more protection against severe Covid
– The concern for the world, I think, is the extent to which vaccines many countries are relying on may not clamp down on transmission – keeping the unvaccinated at risk- even as they protect the vaccinated.
The Chinese vaccines seem to be the “economy class” vaccines
AZ and Sputnik seem to be the “premium economy” vaccines
JNJ or 1 dose of Moderna/Pfizer seem to be the “business class” vaccines (I received the JNJ)
The 2 does of Pfizer/Moderna seem to be the “first class” vaccines
It’s worth noting that efficacy numbers on their own does not say much because of the testing environment (eg if you tested it in the UK right now versus December 2020 you’ll see different results) and how fluid that may be. Not all environments are made equal.
We may need to have new versions or releases of vaccines regularly to fight the mutations (variants).
It may be that we have to get vaccinated every year or something like that.
But we’ve seen testing, for instance, of mRNA vaccines against variants as well – and real world data on Pfizer in Israel where variants spread widely. So while it’s “true” that clinical trials aren’t like-to-like comparisons if all you look at is bottom line effectiveness against symptomatic disease, that’s not the only data on which to draw from in making comparisons.
Mauritius and many other travel destinations are banking their reopening to tourism on just those vaccines, much like nearby Seychelles. In the case of Mauritius they have been planning on July based on getting to 60%-70% vaccinated. But if Seychelles is any indication they better switch out vaccines pretty quickly or they will lose the summer travel season of Europeans and others. All of the resorts there remain closed but taking reservations staring in July. I have booked there in August but have a Plan B as if Seychelles is any indication they are not going to make it to what they qualify for reopening as “herd immunity.”
It could be as well that Seychelles opened too early without placing vaccination requirements for travelers. Many were flocking there from Russia, Dubai, etc this spring.
So, these people got flu like symptoms…. and then felt better.
Why, exactly, is this news still?
Or, are we just wringing out the very last drops of FEAR and profit possible, before we move on to another crises?
If a two-dose course of the mRNA vaccines are first class, then perhaps the Codagenix COVI-VAC live attenuated vaccine will be flying private (assuming it proves safe and effective in trials and is approved). It will be single-dose and intranasal. Most importantly, a live attenuated vaccine will likely provide better protection against future variants. The so-called “first class” vaccines will likely require regular boosters and new formulations for new variants. Vaccination-as-a-Service (Vaas) is obviously something pharmaceutical companies would love to implement.
@George This is very helpful news for those of us who travel internationally in understanding the likelihood of countries opening back up, Or what to expect. Many of the popular destinations for the points game are places that are relying on the Chinese vaccines and herd immunity as a criteria. Seychelles is an example of one place that, most likely due to the vaccines they are using, that the formula for others to fling open the doors will likely not take place as we expect. Mauritius, Bali, Thailand are a few examples of places that many of us are waiting for to reopen and in this situation. Whether you believe in these approaches or not makes no difference.
“So, these people got flu like symptoms…. and then felt better.”
Mayne pay attention to what was written in the article? As it says:
“no patient who received both doses of the vaccination died and “almost all” those with serious cases had not been vaccinated.”
If I recall… the Sinopharm vaccine showed high effectiveness against serious illness and death following the full two-dose regimen, but almost negligible efficacy with only a single dose, according to trends seen in Chile.
Does data such as these change your calculus on the importance of masks post-vaccination, in communities not using one of the mRNA vaccines?
While I agree with much of your indignation and assessment of transmission risk given an increasingly vaccinated population in the United States, I feel like Americans may be among the most likely to abuse the “honor system” method of self-enforcing a “vaccine = no mask / no vaccine = mask” policy.
Given the largely unknown repercussions of COVID exposure in the long-term, particularly on young children who cannot yet receive the vaccine, I’m certainly not comfortable with my child being in close proximity to an unmasked stranger at this time.
I recognize the persistence of a mask mandate despite immunization may limit the appeal of getting vaccinated, but I doubt the vaccine-skeptics who most need convincing are likely to be swayed by such logic to begin with.
Continuing to wear masks during this phase of declining transmission seems like a relatively conservative practice until we can meet a sustained herd immunity. I will admit, however… no toddler should ever be thrown off a plane due given a conscious effort by parents to comply with mask rules, just because an employee is enforcing company policy. Rules shouldn’t get in the way of logic, after all.
The data show that the American vaccines largely do stop transmission, while the other vaccines are less effective at stopping transmission, especially of the variants.
JNJ had its trail largely in SA. It’s 66% of stopping transmission was largely against that variant. The US numbers were above 70% effective in stopping the spread. Similar to 1 dose of Pfizer or Moderna
The fact that a modest number of vaccinated people develop a mild case of COVID is less significant than their ability to transmit the virus to others, ie viral load and other factors. The evidence suggests vaccinated people are far less infectious than unvaccinated. But these studies are a ‘work in progress’
So long as a significant proportion of the population declines vaccination, the virus will continue to spread, albeit at lower levels
@cargocult is just another anti-masker using slightly fancier language. Over a billion shots globally across already approved vaccines and guess what, they are safe and pretty amazing, and bringing us back safely to normal times.
Your Codagenix vaccine you are pumping across travel blogs is in phase 1, with a total of 48 participants. I.e., not being approved anytime soon for use.
Get off your high horse and man up already, otherwise you’re just another Trump-supporting chump that’s part of the problem.
No need to give Gary a pat on the back. He claims he lost enough weight to do it himself.
Okay, time to crunch the numbers: 60% of the population vaccinated, 33% of the cases. That’s along the lines of saying that vaccinated people are three times less likely to get sick, or an efficacy rate of 67%, which is in line with what we believe about Sinopharm and AZ.