The Seychelles is 60% vaccinated, but still infections are rising. That's not as bad as it sounds

A man outside Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple in Seychelles' capital Victoria on April 3, 2021.

(CNN)One of the most vaccinated countries in the world is experiencing a Covid-19 outbreak.

While other nations struggle to secure enough vaccines, the Seychelles is in the enviable position of having already fully immunized more than 61.4% of the population.
But that hasn't been enough to stop the spread of Covid.
    Over the past month, case numbers have been rising in the Indian Ocean archipelago, prompting authorities to impose restrictions in the country of 98,000 people. Data released Thursday shows there are more than 2,700 active cases.
      Of the current active cases, 33% have been fully vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health.
      On face value, the fact the Seychelles, with such high vaccination coverage, is still facing an outbreak calls into question whether countries can inoculate themselves out of the pandemic.
      Experts and local officials, however, say the Seychelles outbreak isn't a sign the vaccines aren't working.
        Either way, the tropical nation is a reminder that even countries with high levels of vaccination can't drop their guard.

        The situation in Seychelles

        Just over a month ago, the Seychelles was so confident with its Covid-19 handling that it dropped restrictions for most tourists.
        With few cases and a mass vaccination campaign underway, the tourist-dependent country reopened its borders to almost all international travelers, meaning anyone with a negative PCR test could enter the country without quarantining. It was a crucial step for a country where tourism directly or indirectly generates about 72% of GDP and employs more than 30% of the population. By that point, the country had reported fewer than 3,800 cases and 16 deaths.
        Since then, total cases have more than doubled to 9,184 cases and 32 deaths, according to Ministry of Health figures released at a press conference Thursday.
        It's not clear what led to the spread, although Sylvestre Radegonde, the minister for foreign affairs and tourism, said the virus had likely been in the country all along and had spread as vaccination made people more complacent. Improved contact tracing and testing had also helped authorities catch more cases.

        Daily reported Covid-19 cases

        "Over the last few months, after vaccination, people have seen that anybody getting infected is not getting seriously sick, nobody is dying, nobody is getting a lot of complications," he said. People in the islands -- who he said love to party -- have been socializing without taking precautions. "People have let down their guard."
        The Seychelles is relying on China-made Sinopharm and Covishield, the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India. Of all fully vaccinated people, 57% received Sinopharm, which was given to those ages 18 to 60, while 43% took Covishield, which was given to those over 60.
        Around 37% of positive cases from the week to May 8 had been fully vaccinated, the government said, although it has not released data on which vaccines they received. The government hasn't released data on the age breakdown of Covid-19 patients.
        Around 20% of those who were admitted to hospital for treatment had been vaccinated, but their cases weren't serious, the Ministry of Health said Monday. Almost none of the critical and severe cases requiring intensive care had been vaccinated, and no one who has been vaccinated has died of Covid-19.
        Radegonde said Thursday that only two people in the country are in intensive care.
        "The conclusion is that the vaccines are protecting the people. Those who have been vaccinated are not developing any complications," Radegonde said. "We remain confident that the vaccines -- both of them -- have helped the country. Things would have been worse."
        CNN has reached out to the Seychelles Ministry of Health and the Health Care Agency for comment.

        What this tells us about vaccines