The Manitoba government has taken steps to enable pharmacists to perform COVID-19 rapid tests for people travelling outside of the province.
Manitoba Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon said "These measures enable pharmacists to expand services for all Manitobans by performing, interpreting and providing results of these tests to people who require a negative test to travel. This is an important change that builds capacity and provides more options for travellers."
The minister noted this change enables rapid antigen tests and rapid molecular (non-PCR) tests to be performed at pharmacies. Pharmacies will be responsible for acquiring rapid testing supplies, training staff and advertising the service at their site.
"We know that pharmacists are among the most accessible health-care providers," said Wendy Clark, president, College of Pharmacists of Manitoba. "The college supports pharmacists as they continue to expand the services they provide to Manitobans during the COVID-19 pandemic."
"Pharmacists are looking forward to, again, positively contributing to important measures that will help Manitobans return to their normal activities, including travel," said Ashley Hart, president, Pharmacists Manitoba. "This pandemic has created important opportunities for pharmacists to serve the public in new ways and to demonstrate the opportunity for Manitobans to be even further supported by their local pharmacist. Participating pharmacies will be working hard in the coming days and weeks to make this service available in communities across the province."
To request a rapid test, individuals are required to present the pharmacist with documentation related to their travel plans, which may include plane or train ticket or hotel booking. Rapid test requirements can vary by country, so individuals should confirm which type of test is required when making their travel plans and before taking a rapid test.
Manitoba travellers will be required to pay a fee for these tests, as travel health-related services are not an insured health benefit under the Canada Health Act. This is consistent with travellers paying for international travel vaccinations required by other countries. Fees for COVID-19 testing will be set by each pharmacy providing the service.
The necessary changes are being made through orders under the Emergency Measures Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act. These came into effect today, Oct. 18.
For more information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/index.html