At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world became disorganized, with many people losing their businesses, incurring huge losses, having to lay off a huge number of employees, and, to make matters worse, people dying in millions. There were strict movement restrictions, but since people started getting vaccinated, the rate of infections has been reduced.
The more people got vaccinated, the easier it was for governments to ease restrictions. Since then, it has been easy for people to order lateral flow tests and test themselves without going to the hospital. Even though the vaccines have shown excellent efficacy and effectiveness in COVID-19 prevention, some people are still getting infected. In this article, we delve into post-vaccination precautions, and our main focus is on why lateral flow tests remain essential.
COVID-19 vaccines are effective, especially at lowering the risk of extreme or severe illness that leads to hospitalization. However, they may not be 100% effective when it comes to preventing people from getting infected. This has become evident more so with emerging coronavirus variants. With lateral flow tests, individuals can identify variants in good time, allowing for immediate isolation and quick contact tracing to prevent the virus from spreading further.
Variants of Concern
New variants keep emerging, and to some extent, some of them can evade the immune response that the vaccination induces in individuals. Using lateral flow tests, the relevant health officials can detect the variants and track their level of prevalence in any community setting. That exercise helps in early detection of more transmissible or potentially vaccine-resistant strains.
Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic Spread
COVID-19 is not only spread by individuals already showing symptoms like coughing. Many infections have happened through infected people with no symptoms (asymptomatic). The virus can also be spread by infected individuals who have not begun showing symptoms (presymptomatic). Lateral flow tests can detect such individuals, breaking the chains of infections that would otherwise be noticed.
Although most people are already vaccinated, conducting lateral flow tests regularly is important. This mostly applies to high-risk areas like schools, healthcare facilities, and long-term care facilities. Rapid testing offers an additional protective layer as it helps in the early identification of cases. Regular screening is crucial for the prevention of outbreaks in such areas of highly vulnerable populations.
With lateral flow tests, the relevant healthcare professionals can identify breakthrough infections among vaccinated people. It is important to minimize these cases as that information can help in monitoring the long-term effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. It helps the officials identify if there is a need for updated vaccine formulation or booster shots to strengthen the vaccine.
Travel and Border Control
You may not be allowed to travel to many countries without providing negative lateral flow test results. It is important, especially in areas that have high transmission rates. Travel and border control enables countries to prevent the importation of cases and helps in supporting global efforts to prevent the virus from spreading.
Ease of Use
Even after people getting vaccinated and most of the restrictions being lifted, people are still contracting covid 19. Research shows that between Dec 2020 and July 2021, of the 1,240,009 individuals who had gotten a first dose, 0.5% subsequently got infected with the virus. Therefore, to prevent people from getting so sick that they are hospitalized or people being asymptomatic and infecting others unknowingly, we cannot avoid taking regular tests.
The easiest way for individuals to know their COVID-19 status is through the use of lateral flow tests. You don’t need to be a trained medical professional to test yourself and your loved ones for COVID-19. The test kits are very easy to use, which makes them accessible to a wide range of individuals. The fact that they are easily accessible encourages more and more people to test themselves, which contributes to controlling the virus.
Lateral flow tests are more pocket-friendly compared to PCR tests. They are more affordable and make it easy for individuals to conduct frequent covid 19 testing. Lateral flow tests are effective, more so for individuals who may not have access to regular healthcare services.
Assisting in Vaccination Campaigns
Before the onset of the vaccination process, medical health professionals use lateral flow tests to confirm that the individuals to be vaccinated have not already gotten infected. Also, they come in handy in monitoring the vaccine’s efficacy and also find out if there are breakthroughs among the vaccinated persons.
Lateral flow tests have played an important role in boosting the confidence of the public. The people know that they have widespread access to testing. It has made it easier for people to return to their normalcy since the world lifted restrictions. People can now attend public gatherings, especially those conducting mass testing before the event.
People are comfortable taking their children to school since they have confidence that schools can access lateral flow testing and carry out regular testing on learners. Organizations Are comfortable with their employees being physically present at work because they know they can carry out tests regularly and prevent any outbreaks.