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Is COVID-19 testing necessary after two vaccinations?

With an increasing proportion of the population now doubly vaccinated against COVID-19, regular testing for the virus may seem as if it should become a thing of the past. However, this is a false assumption. While vaccination is a key part of defeating the virus, additional measures still need to be taken to reduce the spread of the illness.

Tackling the virus

 Since the emergence of the first cases of a novel coronavirus, various measures have been taken to stop the spread and reduce the incidence of serious illness and death. Initially, the only steps we could take were increased hygiene measures and social distancing, until governments across the world stepped in with lockdowns and restrictions. However, from the very beginning, the race was also on to develop a vaccine that would enable life to return to normal. This proved to be a success, and at the end of 2020, the vaccination rollout began, resulting in the adult population offered two jabs with a booster also being offered to the more vulnerable. The success of this has led to a lifting of the restrictions, but it has not eliminated the virus, even in the vaccinated population.

The success and limitations of the vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine reduces the chances of infection from 14 to 21 days after the second vaccination, but it does not prevent it altogether. However, this is no reason not to get vaccinated. Vaccination not only reduces your chances of getting the virus, but it also reduces the severity of the symptoms if you do contract it, resulting in fewer hospital admissions and deaths. It may also mean that you become an asymptomatic carrier of the virus, so that although you continue to feel well, you could pass it on to someone else who is not so lucky. Not everyone is able to have the vaccine, and there are conditions such as some forms of cancer that render the vaccine less effective. For these people, COVID-19 remains a serious threat.

The other limitation of the vaccine is that it is currently unclear how long immunity lasts, so although vaccinationis important, it is not a reason for complacency.

Regular testing

 Many workplaces have successfully set up regular COVID-19 testing routines, where employees take rapid response tests twice a week at home. Matrix Diagnostics provides a selection of tests including a rapid response COVID-19 test that gives results in just 15 minutes with a 98.9% accuracy compared to a laboratory PCR test, which makes it ideal for these testing routines. Continuing with these tests even if you are confident that your entire workforce has been double vaccinated will help asymptomatic carriers to be identified so that they can isolate before passing the virus onto colleagues and clients. As well as helping to protect the vulnerable, it will also reduce the chances of causing an outbreak that might significantly decrease the productivity of the business. It also offers peace of mind, restoring confidence to those understandably anxious at the lifting of restrictions.

There is no one way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Vaccination is a vital part of this, but other measures including hygiene, ventilation and testing remain crucial.

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