No PCR test needed for people exempted from COVID-19 vaccines – CMO

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By Vishani Ragobeer

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People who are exempted from taking COVID-19 vaccines because of medical conditions or treatment are not required to produce the results of a PCR test for entry into a building; those people are required to show a letter from their doctor instead.

This is according to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Narine Singh, who spoke to the News Room at the side lines of an event on Tuesday.

The newly updated COVID-19 Emergency measures do not explicitly state that there are exemptions to the vaccination requirements for people who may have some medical condition or who may be receiving treatment such as chemotherapy. But, the CMO assured members of the public that the local health authorities are catering for these exemptions.

“… we know that certain people might not be able to take the vaccines because of specific medical conditions they might have and so on and that was [how] the exemptions came about,” Dr. Singh said.

He added: “(The exemptions) weren’t mentioned inside the (COVID-19 measures) but it was clear that we still require that if you can’t be vaccinated then you should present with a letter from a medical practitioner (explaining) why you can’t be vaccinated.”

As per the COVID-19 measures, adults are now required to be vaccinated to access public buildings and some private buildings that members of the public have lawful access to, including learning institutions.

For unvaccinated people seeking to enter these buildings, an appointment must be made and those people must produce a negative result from a PCR test taken within seven days of the appointment.

These PCR tests must be done at a private facility approved by the Ministry of Health. This test costs about $20,000.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Narine Singh (Photo: News Room/October 08, 2020)

Dr. Singh, however, said that people who are exempted from getting vaccinated do not have to present a negative PCR test result. Those test results, Dr. Singh explained, are only required from those people who are not vaccinated but who have “no reason at all” for still remaining unvaccinated.

The CMO’s statements were backed by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, who said that there are exceptions to the vaccine requirements in the COVID-19 Emergency Measures published in the official gazette.

“All these restrictions that we are imposing by these guidelines are subject to exceptions and among those exceptions is the permission to provide medical evidence as to why one should not take the vaccines,” the Attorney General said during a recent interview with the News Room.

Both the CMO and the Attorney General are, however, encouraging people who are eligible for the vaccines to get vaccinated because these interventions will help save their lives.

 

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