New beginnings - the sun rises over Petite Anse Beach, La Digue in the Seychelles (photo courtesy Seychelles Tourism).
The president of the Indian Ocean nation of the Seychelles has revealed the country is just days away from herd immunity.
By mid-March the Seychelles will have vaccinated 70,000 people, or 70% of its population, president Wavel Ramkalawan told The Associated Press in an interview last week.
The exact threshold for herd immunity is unknown, but scientists point to around 70% of a population needing to have been inoculated for the virus to be contained.
The vaccination programme in the Seychelles began in January. Fifty thousand doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine were donated to the country by the United Arab Emirates and India also donated 50,000 doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, which it now manufactures on home turf at the Serum Institute of India. The Seychelles government paid for an additional 40,000 doses of Astra-Zeneca to make up the amount needed to inoculate 70,000 people.
The vaccines are free and have been made available according to profession and age. Health care workers, essential service workers and tourism workers were first up, followed by the elderly.
The vaccine is now available to all residents aged 18 years and over.
Seychelles has since announced that it will be opening quarantine-free to international holidaymakers, with our without the vaccine, at the end of March.