From November 1, fully vaccinated travelers no longer need PCR test for SXM

All travelers, both residents and tourists, who are fully vaccinated with vac­cines approved by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM and the World Health Organization (WHO), will no longer require a COVID-19 test to enter St. Maarten as of November 1.

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley announced this dur­ing the live Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday. He said this is something the minis­try has been monitoring for some time and with proven research has decided to proceed in this di­rection.

“Research has shown that the viral load of a fully-vaccinated person who is infected with CO­VID-19 lowers much faster than [that of — Ed.] a person that is un­vaccinated. This means that while there are a few breakthrough cas­es of fully vaccinated persons, the chances of these persons spreading the virus or becoming severely ill are tremendous­ly low,” said Ottley.

A science brief on CO­VID-19 vaccines and vac­cination can be viewed via https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/sci-ence/science-briefs/fully-vaccinated-people.html.

Ottley said the vaccine al­lows your body to fight the virus once the infection moves from the nasal cav­ity into the bloodstream. Severe illness is prevented by being vaccinated, as your body will be better prepared to fight the virus.

In St. Maarten, there is a recorded 1.6 percent death rate, of which 0.04 percent were fully vaccinated. A similar percentage is re­corded for the number of fully vaccinated hospitalisa­tions. “This shows that the vaccine is highly effective and we can move towards allowing fully vaccinated persons to enter without re­quiring a test,” said Ottley.

He announced that his short-term plan is to also develop the COVID-19 re­covery Digital COVID-19 Certificate (DCC), which allows persons to register their past infections and show proof of natural im­munity.

“Please note that the re­quirements for unvacci­nated persons remain the same. For further details visit the government website,” he advised.

The WHO-approved vac­cines are Moderna, Pfizer/ BioNTech (United States Food and Drug Adminis­tration-approved), Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sino­pharm (Beijing) BBIBP, Sinovac and CoronaVac.

The Daily Herald

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