Rapid Antigen Travel Testing Now Available at DCP

Nov 16, 2021

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

This past week the US border officially opened back up for Canadians to cross into the United States. Traveling in a pandemic has become a little more complicated, no matter your destination. However, the DCP is here is help you travel easier. One of the travel requirements we are receiving a significant number of questions on is COVID-19 testing for travel.

There are two main classifications of COVID-19 tests. Molecular tests are considered the gold standard as they have the highest accuracy. These tests include the PCR (Polymerase chain reaction), NAT (Nucleic acid test) or NAATs (Nucleic acid amplification test) and the RT-LAMP (Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification). The PCR is the same test which is done if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19. The issue with these tests is sometimes they are hard to access, take longer to obtain the results and are almost always more expensive than an antigen test. Currently pharmacies in Manitoba are not permitted to perform PCR testing. Some molecular tests are available as a rapid test; however, they have proven difficult to obtain in Canada. For travel purposes you are not allowed to test at a public site or use a negative result from these sites for travel.

The rapid antigen test, although slightly less accurate has shown to be very valuable for self-testing, workplace testing and travel testing. Rapid Antigen testing can product results in minutes, the tests are much less expensive to perform and are more accessible. Currently these rapid tests will get you access to countries such as the USA (via air) and UK. Here are the current USA travel requirements:

REQUIRED TESTS FOR TRAVEL (current as of November 17/21):

Travelling to the USA via land crossing:

Entering the USA --> No test required

Returning to Canada --> Molecular test required

Travelling to the USA via Air (now including Hawaii)

Entering the USA --> Rapid Antigen test required

Returning to Canada --> Molecular test required.

*The Canadian government is reportedly going to eliminate the need for testing if you go and return to Canada within 72 hours.

If you are visiting another country, visit www.iatatravelcentre.com to get updated testing information.

The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy is now booking appointments for rapid antigen testing for travel purposes. You can call the pharmacy at 204-638-4602 to book your appointment. You must be asymptomatic to come for a test. The test is required to be 72 hours or less from the time your plane is scheduled to depart. If your flight is delayed or canceled past 72 hours the test is still supposed to be considered valid. The pharmacy will require proof of travel. A flight booking, car rental confirmation or hotel stay are acceptable. We will also require you to sign an assessment and consent form.

The tests we conduct take a sample from the nasal passage. The swab does not have to go further than the narrowing of the nasal passage, making it a simple procedure. Upon testing we will confirm your details and passport number, or other ID required. With your correct results we will generate a results form which can be printed and signed by the pharmacist before you leave your appointment. The whole process takes approximately 20 minutes. We are also able to send you a text or email with the results page. From experience, customs and airport security at international departures asks to see either a paper or digital version. Unfortunately, testing is not covered by public or private insurance. If you are traveling for work, you will be provided with an official receipt you can submit for a travel expense.

For your test to return to Canada, we suggest calling or visiting a pharmacy or medical clinic in the USA. At tourist destinations like Las Vegas, hotels are holding testing clinics for their guests. A simple Google search will also provide you with testing locations for travel. There are also some testing kits which can be taken on your trip, and you will self-test under the supervision of a health care provider via video chat. However, the demand for these is high and availability is currently very limited. If testing requirements change for US travel or travel back into Canada, we will inform our customers on our Facebook page.

All Canadian air travelers will also need to be fully vaccinated by November 30. To have proper proof of your vaccines for travel you must download the new Canadian immunization card. The information will be loaded on your Manitoba Immunization App. For more information visit www.canada.ca.

Your DCP pharmacists can also help you out with other travel immunizations and ensure you have the right over the counter medications to take on your trip. We also have KN95 masks, hand sanitizer in various package sizes, children's masks and travel sized health items to take on your trip.


Read more Health Articles

Unite Interactive