Mass testing and a limited number of Covid-19 vaccines are likely to be rolled out in Harrow over the “coming weeks”, according to the council’s senior health official.

Carole Furlong, director of public health at Harrow Council, told a health and wellbeing board today (November 24) that it hopes to have everything in place for the next stage of tackling the virus as soon as possible.

This includes “small quantities” of a vaccine, which will initially be offered too groups most at risk such as frontline medical staff, and those living and working in care homes.

Older residents are also likely to be eligible for the opening batches of the vaccine, with those over 80 going first, then 70, and so on.

Four vaccination sites have been suggested, and these are set to be confirmed on December 1.

Ms Furlong said the council will need to engage in an effective communications strategy, to ensure a “high uptake in high risk groups” and “address some of the misinformation that’s been promoted”.

As well as the vaccine, Ms Furlong added there will be a programme of “targeted rapid testing” – mass testing – in the borough for asymptomatic groups such as teachers and NHS staff.

This follows on from a previous testing approach, including one permanent site providing up to 288 tests a day alongside mobile sites at the civic centre and Northwick Park Hospital which are “well utilised”.

A report presented to the health and wellbeing board showed there are also plans to create two further permanent testing sites in Harrow.