12/16/20 Update: A number of recent commenters in early December have had more positive experiences with Vault Health; their timing as likely helped, as the early December period is usually a lull for travel, between busy Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year's travel.
11/20/20 Update: Currently we can't recommend Vault Health, at least during peak holiday periods, as it appears to be overwhelmed by demand and unable to provide responsive service to clients, especially given the fast turnaround required for Hawaii. Please scroll down to read the most recent commenters' experiences. Also note that as of 11/24/20, Hawaii-bound travelers will need a negative COVID-19 test result *before* boarding their departing flight in order to avoid quarantine.
This is our Vault Health COVID-19 Test Review based on our October 2020 coronavirus PCR testing experience. Vault Health has partnered with JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, the state of Hawaii and other organizations to provide the requisite COVID-19 PCR testing prior to travel to certain destinations.
Ordering the Vault Health COVID-19 Test
Ordering our test was straightforward. Since we would be flying with JetBlue, we went to the vaulthealth.com/jetblue site and created an account for each of us. This was the only part I was a bit frustrated with: I needed to create three separate accounts, each with its own unique email and login, which is somewhat cumbersome for a family. Many destinations do require children to also take a COVID-19 PCR test, so your child will need his/her own account. Always double check the COVID-19 testing requirements of your destination, especially as these can change.
Since I placed the order earlier in the week, on a Tuesday, the test kits arrived the very next day, Wednesday. Note if you're trying to get your kit the very next day, avoid ordering on a Friday, since it won't arrive until the following Monday at the earliest. Thursday orders may also not arrive until Monday, so place your order Monday-Wednesday if at all possible.
Taking the Vault Health COVID-19 Test
We took the Vault Health COVID-19 test on a Monday, hoping to receive our test results on Wednesday. Be sure to not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in the 30 minutes before you provide your saliva sample.
After logging in, we requested an appointment with a remote supervisor. Before we were placed into a remote “waiting room” we had to confirm that we hadn't eaten/drunk anything within the last 30 minutes, that we had our entire test kit, and that we had the Zoom app with camera and audio enabled on our device.
Our waiting times ranged from 7-20 minutes, even though the estimated waiting time for all of them was 10 minutes. Once the test supervisor appeared, I had to confirm my name, date of birth, and show my driver's license. For those testing their family, it's possible to have everyone conduct their supervised sample in one Zoom call.
After that it was time to provide the saliva sample, by spitting into the tube (which helpfully has a funnel attached to it, to make it easier). The sample amount has to be at or above the black line, so be sure to drink an ample amount of water *before* the 30 minute cut-off time prior to the sample, to make it easier to provide enough saliva.
Once that was done, I removed the funnel part and screwed on the cap, which has a blue liquid to preserve the sample. You're instructed to shake the vial for 5 seconds to mix everything together. After that, it's time to place it inside the cardboard box, and then into the postage paid UPS envelope. The antiseptic wipe is to wipe down the envelope immediately prior to handing it to your nearest UPS facility.
Getting the Test Confirmation
Just as we'd hoped, the following day we received confirmation that our samples were received by the lab (roughly 28 hours after mailing it).
And the very next morning, so within about 18 hours after the lab receipt confirmation, we received our test results; fortunately, negative. Vault Health does warn you that in addition to “positive” or “negative,” a small percentage of samples, roughly 2%, are deemed “inconclusive” where the test is not able to definitively determine status.
If needing to upload a one page pdf, this will be in your Vault Health account. Note that Vault Health does NOT provide a time stamp for the time the test was taken, monitored over Zoom, only the date. This is fine for the State of Hawaii, which is aware of this issue and still partners with Vault. If, however, you take a different COVID-19 test (not with Vault Health) that is time stamped, it's critical that it be taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to the departure of your flight to Hawaii. In the case of connecting flights, for example DEN-LAX-OGG, you would need to take the test in the 72 hours before your departure time from Los Angeles LAX (*not* 72 hours prior to your departure from Denver DEN, as that would be too early).
You'll also want to print out your negative test documentation; at least one commenter has noted that the line in Hawaii for those with printed documentation was much shorter than for those who only had it on their mobile device.
We were pleasantly surprised at how efficient and easy everything was with ourVault Health COVID-19 tests. We received the tests the day after we ordered them, we were notified the lab had received our samples the day after we mailed them, and less than 24 hours afterwards we had our negative test result.
If you've used a Vault Health COVID-19 test recently, what was your experience?
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