The Role of COVID-19 Testing in a Post-Vaccine World

The Role of COVID-19 Testing in a Post-Vaccine World

Written by Adonis Hakk

September 15, 2021

The fight against COVID-19 and the dramatic increase of positive cases has placed an enormous burden on people’s livelihood and health, public and private clinical facilities, and the global workforce.

COVID-19 testing played a significant role in helping lessen such a burden by identifying and confirming current infections, preventing further spread by immediate isolation of positive individuals and those who had direct contact with them.

It is the very reason why testing is considered as a key to ending the pandemic. As long as enough coronavirus tests are administered, it will be easier to identify and contain potential outbreaks and life might eventually go back to normal.

However, testing efforts were not sufficient enough to end the crisis. Fortunately, COVID-19 vaccines were developed, and the world has seen a decline in death and infection rates.

Today, several countries have dropped restrictions, resumed face-to-face interaction, and even allowed gatherings for vaccinated individuals. With such positive changes in regulations, many are looking forward to much safer and better months ahead.

It is understandable for people to think that testing is not as important as it was before, considering the recent developments. If you are one of those people, then what you are thinking is wrong.

Testing is important now more than ever

Many people worldwide have already received their first dose of vaccination or have been completely inoculated against the virus. Despite that, there is still a need for a comprehensive and ongoing testing system to identify new cases, and there are many uncertainties against the vaccines.

Five variables are driving the need for continued testing:

1. Positive rates – Despite widespread vaccinations, many countries still report increased COVID-19 positivity rates affecting long-term demand for testing. It is safe to assume that unless the pandemic is over, testing will continue.

2. The pace of vaccination – Many countries have yet to reach even half of their coronavirus vaccine targets, and some challenges lie ahead in pursuit of their goal. There is also the issue that vaccines are not accessible to most people living outside the world’s highest-income countries.

3. New case rate – Daily coronavirus cases worldwide have increased from January 2020 to September 2, 2021.

4. Immunity duration of the vaccine – Research regarding the duration of protection of COVID-19 vaccines is still underway.

5. COVID-19 mutations – Many COVID-19 variants have emerged as viruses constantly change through mutation. According to the CDC, some may emerge and disappear, while some may emerge and persist. Some of which can even be more contagious and severe than the original version of coronavirus.

Getting a Covid-19 test is easier and more convenient than before with the new testing technology and government funding and initiatives striving to make testing more reliable and faster than it has ever been. Today, many can book a private PCR test online, and employers can choose to opt for workplace testing for their employees.

What kind of COVID-19 tests can I get now?

The two tests that can determine whether an individual has an active coronavirus infection are a rapid antigen test that looks for proteins on the virus’s surface and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, which is considered the most accurate COVID-19 test.

Both tests will require a swab test – the collection of samples from the nose or mouth using a special cotton swab. For an antigen test, results can be expected within 30 minutes.

PCR tests take time as the sample will be sent to a laboratory for further examination. Results can be as early as 24 hours, but it often takes days, depending on how long the sample reaches the laboratory.

There are COVID-19 testing providers that offer covid home test kits where people can collect their sample, send it back to the laboratory, and wait for the results.

I am fully vaccinated. Do I still need testing?

Testing can help prevent potential outbreaks and track emerging variants which can help people stay ahead of the virus. The virus now has mutations that the world must look out for, and COVID-19 testing will be essential to diagnose such infections.

Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines might not have much protection against such variants, which makes even the fully-jabbed individuals susceptible. Vaccinated people are undoubtedly safer than those who have yet to receive their doses, but there is still a slim chance they might get infected as no vaccine has a 100 percent immunity.

Although symptoms are less severe, there is a chance that they could transmit the virus to others and potentially cause an outbreak, but research about this is still ongoing. That is why the CDC recommends vaccinated individuals to exercise caution in public places, including wearing a mask and maintaining a physical distance when interacting with others, especially the unvaccinated population.

Furthermore, due to the misconceptions and uncertainty surrounding vaccines, many people globally refuse to get vaccinated. Some cannot get the shot because of their age, lack of access, and other health issues.

While vaccine rollouts are ongoing, the process is not exactly fast, and it will take years before it is widely available to the rest of the world. Even after getting vaccinated, people still need testing if they develop any symptoms.

Being vaccinated certainly has its perks and advantages, providing a sense of relief and safety, but getting a test for coronavirus is still of utmost importance.

When will people be able to socialise normally again?

Everyone is looking forward to a day where socialising does not have to be daunting. But for that to happen, the world needs to reach herd immunity, a time where people cannot contract the virus and develop symptoms easily.

As of now, a large percentage of the population still needs to be vaccinated to attain herd immunity. Until then, people must not overlook the significance of COVID-19 testing. Being vaccinated certainly has its perks and advantages, providing a sense of relief and safety, but getting a test for coronavirus is also as important in providing safety and peace of mind.

Are you looking for a testing provider?

Harley Medic Global is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website to learn more.

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