Why the world’s most vaccinated country is seeing an unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases



As the Seychelles began to offer free coronavirus vaccinations early this year, President Wavel Ramkalawan told reporters that the country was planning to reach herd immunity within weeks.

It was an ambitious target for a small, geographically isolated island nation in the Indian Ocean. But with its economy heavily reliant on tourism, the country called in favors to attain a vaccine supply from regional allies, including India and the United Arab Emirates.

The effort initially seemed to be a success. The Seychelles stands as the most vaccinated nation on Earth, with more than 60 percent of its population fully vaccinated, more than other vaccine giants such as Israel and Britain, and almost twice the United States’ rate of vaccination.

But that success has been undermined this week as the Seychelles has found itself with its largest number of new coronavirus cases per capita, and has been forced to reinstate a number of restrictions.

Though the number of new cases is relatively low — peaking at an average of just over 100 new cases a day — they are a big deal in a country with a population of less than 100,000. On a per capita basis, the Seychelles outbreak is worse than India’s raging surge.


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