Rapid, regular testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19 will be made available across the country from this week, with the eligibility of the community testing programme expanded to cover all 317 local authorities. Local authorities will be encouraged to target testing at critical workers such as early years staff during the national lockdown.
We are rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools, who will receive testing kits for staff from week commencing 18 January 2020. This includes schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools. The asymptomatic testing programme will offer all primary school, schools-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device test kits for routine testing.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine(s) the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.
JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.
Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other government departments. The Department for Education will input into this cross-governmental exercise.