Local Doctor Says COVID-19 Testing Still Important During Vaccine Rollout

OKLAHOMA CITY —


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just over 20% of Oklahomans are fully vaccinated. Local health experts said a good vaccination rate does not mean we stop testing for COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is not going away. Think flu, it has been with us for a long time, and it is not going to go away. The virus is going to continue to change, and we are going to have an indefinite need for testing,” said Dr. David Rothwell, Chief Medical Officer of Valir Health.


Rothwell said because scientists are still researching how long the vaccine lasts and the different strains of COVID-19 testing is an important part in finding out how the virus is evolving.

“We think there is going to be a need for boosters down the road but as far as testing is concerned people are still at risk for getting the infection,” he said adding that vaccines are not 100% effective. “Overtime as the vaccine wears off and people don’t get re-vaccinated, or we have new strains of virus coming out we are going to have an ongoing need for testing,” said Rothwell.

Another factor is travel, he said cases will increase around holidays and spring break.

“Obviously we are hoping they never get to the levels where they were before, but because we are going to continue to see spikes of COVID-19 cases it is going to remain critical that we keep testing,” said Rothwell.

His nonprofit, Valir Pace, does a 2-in-1 swab that tests for COVID-19 and the flu.

“That’s important because no one wants to get swabbed, certainly not more than once, also I decrease the wait time. In our situation, we can do one test in under 15 minutes. We can have results of the test and know if it’s the flu, COVID-19 or neither of those infections,” said Rothwell.

The nonprofit offers the 2-in-1 swab free to senior citizens.

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