AN East Lancashire local authority leader and borough public health director have highlighted a potential problem for travellers who get coronavirus even if double jabbed.
Fully-vaccinated Ribble Valley Council boss Cllr Stephen Atkinson discovered after he got the infection that Covid-19 victims can still get false positives from PCR tests up to 90 days later.
This means that individuals whose completed immunisation status would get them onto a plane to a ‘Green’ or ‘Amber’ List foreign country might struggle to board the flight back after a mandatory PCR test registered positive.
He has advised people planning to travel overseas this summer who have had coronavirus to check the rules regarding testing with their travel firm and insurer before departing – guidance backed by Professor Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s public health director.
Cllr Atkinson said: “I have had both my jabs but still got coronavirus at the end of last month. It was pretty horrible.
“I found out that I could still register positive if I took a PCR test for up to 90 days.
“This concerns me as it means someone with a family could go abroad on holiday having been allowed on a plane out because they had been double-vaccinated and then test positive on a PCR test and be refused permission to board.
“They would be effectively stranded overseas.
“I would support Prof Harrison’s advice to check with your travel firm, airline and insurer if you are in this situation.
“I think the government needs to clarify or change the rules. I have contacted Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans who has raised the issue with transport secretary Grant Shapps.”
Prof Harrison said: “It is generally advised that anyone who has had Covid confirmed by a positive PCR test should not take another PCR test for 90 days as it is likely to give a subsequent ‘false positive’ result as it picks up fragments of the virus remaining in the blood.
“Anyone double-vaccinated who has a subsequent Covid infection 90 days before a holiday would have a significant risk of giving a positive PCR test result both travelling out and returning from a typical two-week holiday.
“I recommend anyone who has had both jabs and a subsequent infection from Covid up to 90 days before travelling to check with their travel company and holiday insurance company about their policy on this issue.”
A Department of Transport spokesman said: “It is very unlikely anyone would be refused boarding in this situation although they may have to quarantine on their return.
“They should preferably take a lateral flow rather than a PCR test before returning.”