Planning A Trip Over the March Break? Here’s What You Should Know.

In a normal year, you’d hop from province to province, fly to Florida to enjoy some sun or around the world to visit family. You wouldn’t even think twice. Unfortunately, this is not a normal year and planning a trip can take a little more effort. 

We are still in a pandemic, and so there are things that you need to know before hopping on that plane, train or automobile.

Vaccinations and Immunizations

Is your family up to date on all of their regular vaccinations? It is always a good idea to double-check that everyone in the family is up to date with all of their regular vaccines and immunizations when in the beginning stages of planning a trip.

Travel Vaccinations

You should also ask your pharmacy if there are any special immunizations that they would recommend for the area in which you are travelling. You need to get vaccinated 4 weeks before travel to make sure that these vaccines have enough time to take effect and protect you. Speak to a pharmacist for information that is specific to where you are going.

Covid-19 vaccination 

Are you all fully vaccinated against covid-19? Many countries around the world are not allowing visitors in unless they are fully vaccinated. This means that the individual has had their 2nd covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the date of travel.

If you’d like to get vaccinated for Covid-19 at Riverbend Pharmacy, fill out our online vaccine registration form

Booster shots are also available for any Ontario resident that is 18+ who has had their last covid-19 vaccination at least 3 months ago. Visit the same link as above to book your booster shot, today.


Rapid Antigen Testing

No matter where you are going or for how long, it is always a good idea to get a rapid covid test done before you leave, for peace of mind and safety. Many pharmacies in Ontario will do a rapid covid test for you, which takes about 30 minutes of your time. 

Even if you aren’t planning to travel, it may still be a good idea to get a rapid antigen test done before you visit friends and family. This will help stop the spread of the virus, and also help to keep you and your family safe.

You can come into Riverbend pharmacy to get your rapid antigen test done if:

  • You have no symptoms of covid-19
  • Have not been in close contact with someone who has or has had COVID-19 within the past 14 days
  • Have not been asked to quarantine in the last 14 days 
  • Have not received an exposure notification through the COVID-19 app 
  • Have not tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days 


International Travel Restrictions

Rules for Re-entry into Canada

If you are travelling outside of Canada this March break, then you should be aware of the re-entry requirements needed to return to Canada. As of today, only those considered fully vaccinated can enter Canada or return to Canada. These requirements change regularly, so keep checking the link above for the most accurate information.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Everyone 5 years of age and older must provide proof of a negative covid-19 molecular test taken within the previous 72 hours before you will be allowed back into Canada.
  • The rules may differ depending on what country you are flying in from. Be sure to check out the Government of Canada website to make sure that you are aware of the requirements for re-entry from the country that you are visiting.
  • You must upload your vaccination proof into ArriveCAN 
  • You must create and input a quarantine plan in ArriveCAN

No matter how you choose to travel this March, when you return to Canada you may be chosen to do a randomized Covid-19 test at the border. 

Visit the same Government of Canada link above for more information and a checklist of what you will need to have ready at the border.


Domestic Travel

When travelling around Canada domestically, all individuals over the age of 12 (+4 months) must be fully vaccinated to board a plane or a train. Even if you are driving, you should visit the Provincial and Territorial Restrictions page to find the specific requirements for the province or territory that you would like to visit. 

Some provinces have a self-isolation period in effect, while others don’t. Some provinces are asking everyone to self-isolate, while others only make the unvaccinated do so. The period of self-isolation may also differ between the provinces. The main thing to note is that the situation is changing daily and new restrictions are being put into force because of the Omnicron variant, so just keep checking and make sure that you are complying with the provincial and local guidelines.


What’s the Difference Between Rapid Antigen Testing and PCR Testing?

Rapid antigen tests are considered less effective than PCR testing, and they test for protein fragments of the Covid-19 virus. You get your results within 15 minutes too, which means that they are a good option for someone who wants to visit a public venue or be in close contact with individuals outside their household. 

Want to grab a latte with a friend over the break? Grab a rapid test first, and then go and enjoy! 

PCR which stands for (polymerase chain reaction) tests are considered much more accurate. These are the type of testing that doctors give you, and that you need to do when you travel. 

For this type of test, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to find the genetic material of Covid-19. You can’t get this type of test done everywhere, you have to find a location near you that offers PCR testing. 

If you are local to London, Ontario then you can visit Hamilton Pharmacy to get your PCR test today. 

Whether you are travelling to visit friends or relatives that you haven’t seen in a while or holing up in the comfort of your own home, I wish you a happy March break. Get outside and enjoy the almost spring air, be safe and have fun.

Until next time,

Nathalie Jolivet


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