PAHO advises against relaxing entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers

PAHO Director of Health Emergencies Dr. Ciro Ugarte
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The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is advising against the relaxation of entry protocols for people who are fully vaccinated.

PAHO’s Director of Health Emergencies Dr Ciro Ugarte in their press briefing yesterday was fully against such policies, highlighting that although someone is fully inoculated, the risk still remains of their contracting and spreading the virus.

“The vaccine does not protect you from getting infected although there is increased evidence that that is the case. There are many people who will still get infected and by reducing the protective measures for persons who get vaccinated, there is an increased probability and risk of getting infected and passing the disease on to others that have not gotten vaccinated as yet. So, in that regard World Health Organization (WHO) and PAHO do not recommend this change of entry requirements for people that have been vaccinated,” Dr Ugarte said.

Dr Ugarte’s comments stem from a new trend being seen around the world where several countries are considering reducing quarantine requirements or eliminating them altogether for inoculated persons.

Last week, the Cabinet reduced the regular 14-day quarantine requirements in Antigua and Barbuda to seven days and over the weekend, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that the Cabinet will consider reducing the seven-day quarantine requirement during deliberations on Wednesday as an additional benefit for people who have opted to be vaccinated.

The top health official also questioned what measures will be used to identify these vaccinated persons in comparison to those have yet to be inoculated as there is no concrete framework on the cards.

He is suggesting that there should be no change in protective measures until majority of persons are vaccinated.

“How can we discriminate or separate the persons that have been vaccinated from the other ones that have not been? Also, if for example, you are in a community where some people got vaccinated how can you identify those and let them for example review their protective measures? In that regard, there is a clear indication that unless a significant proportion of persons are fully vaccinated and protected some of those protective measures may contain to remain in place if there is no change,” he added.

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