PCR/antigen test still required after vaccination for overseas travel

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Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony is advising the public that an RT-PCR or antigen test is still required for overseas travel, even after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Minister Anthony made this announcement during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update.

“Even if you’re immunised, you still would be required to do a PCR test. The reason is that as you would know, when we talk about the efficacy of the vaccine, none of the vaccines are a 100 per cent efficacious, which means that it doesn’t prevent 100 per cent of the infection. Therefore, with that small percentage that is there, people can get infected,” he said.

The Minister explained further that the disease, even in its mildest form, is still transmissible, so persons still need to take precautions. He said studies are also still ongoing with regards to transmission after vaccination.

“So, as more people around the world now get vaccines, the scientists are now observing to see whether people who have received vaccines, how much they can transmit the infection, if they can transmit this infection to others and if it’s going to spread and so forth, so that’s something that is still under investigation.”

Minister Anthony said the fact is even if a person has received the full dose (two shots) of COVID-19 vaccine, the PCR would still be required for travelling overseas.

“Those countries would require that and therefore, if you travel, you have to produce that PCR or in the case of the US, antigen test. This is something that we have raised at the level of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), because I know a lot of people would be asking this question. The WHO has so far advised that we continue to ask for the PCR tests.”

Guyana began COVID-19 vaccination with frontline workers last week Tuesday, after receiving a gift of 3,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from the Government of Barbados.

The country is currently awaiting 20,000 Sinopharm vaccines, a gift from the People’s Republic of China, 104,000 vaccines through the COVAX mechanism and 149,000 through a purchase agreement under a CARICOM-African Union pact.