6 fully vaccinated people died of COVID-19 in the world's most vaccinated nation, health officials said. All had underlying health conditions.

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A medical worker wearing a face shield and face mask holds up a small box of vaccines in his blue-gloved hand.
A medical worker holding a box of the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China's Sinopharm. Rassin Vannier/AFP/Getty Images
  • Six fully vaccinated people died of COVID-19 in Seychelles, the public-health commissioner said.

  • Five had gotten Covishield, a version of AstraZeneca's shot, and one had gotten Sinopharm's shot.

  • All of those who died had underlying health conditions, the commissioner said.

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Six people have died from COVID-19 in Seychelles despite being fully vaccinated, the country's public-health commissioner said on Thursday.

Jude Gedeon said that five of the people had received Covishield, a version of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured in India, and that one had received China's Sinopharm shot, Bloomberg reported.

All six people had underlying health conditions, he said. It wasn't clear how long after vaccination the people died. In Seychelles, the Covishield shot has mostly been given to people older than 60, Gedeon said.

Seychelles is the world leader in vaccination rates, having fully vaccinated 68% of its 98,000 people. For comparison, Israel, a country lauded for its vaccination success, has fully vaccinated 59% of its population, according to Oxford University's Our World in Data. The world average is 11%.

Gedeon said that a recent spike in infections had likely been driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, first found in India, that's fast spreading across the world. Before 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 a rise in cases driven by the Delta variant but not a sharp rise in deaths.

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The Seychelles Ministry of Health said on May 10 that about a third of active COVID-19 cases were among fully vaccinated people. At the time, most people in the country had received Sinopharm's shot.

As of Monday, Seychelles had reported more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases and 68 deaths, according to the ministry's data. It has the highest proportion of newly confirmed infections of any country - on Tuesday, it had a seven-day average of 1,393 new daily coronavirus cases per million people, while the US's average was 37 new cases, according to Our World in Data.

Seychelles has imposed restrictions on gatherings and opening hours at bars to try to curb the spread of the virus.

Gedeon said Seychelles was working with experts from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to evaluate the country's vaccination rate, data, and response. "They will produce a report which will help us decide on the strategy to be used moving forward in terms of vaccination, measures, etc.," he said, according to Bloomberg.

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