Britain’s early investment in COVID-19 vaccination is paying off. As of 1 June 2021, 39.4 million adults had received their first jab and 25.7 million had returned for their second dose. The country is proceeding with caution along the government’s roadmap to reopening. Hopes are pinned on 21 June as the date when restrictions on social interactions are lifted and businesses can get back up and running.
According to the current vaccination timetable, all participating adults should have received their second dose by the end of October 2021. But that leaves a problematic four-month lag following lockdown. With cases surging across Europe, scientists are already forecasting a third UK wave in late summer.
In our race to return to the things we love, it’s easy to forget that the vaccine is not a cure for COVID-19. Equally, the end of lockdown doesn’t mark the end of the pandemic. Despite the speed and success of the vaccine rollout, the virus (and its highly transmissible variants) are still freely circulating in our communities. Many people could still become critically ill if infected.
Even after two doses, no vaccine is 100% effective – and not everyone will accept or be able to have their injections. We need more than medicine to protect ourselves, our families and our workforces. Alongside the vaccine and all other recommended risk reduction measures, regular COVID-19 screening can help bring staff back sooner, and safer.
A coordinated approach to COVID-19 safety
Preventing viral transmission requires a multi-pronged approach. Safety controls such as social distancing and face coverings – which seemed so alien when first introduced – have slipped seamlessly into our daily routines. To move confidently to the next stage of recovery, we now need to add another layer of protection, building on the current mix of vaccination, masks, hand hygiene, disinfection, distancing and fresh air.
Every precaution has its part to play, but twice-weekly screening could be the extra measure that brings ‘real life’ within reach. Around one in three people with COVID-19 are completely symptom-free, so introducing a rolling testing programme helps you stay a step ahead of infection rates within your workplace.
A new, highly accurate type of lateral flow test even lets you identify positive cases before the virus is passed on. This allows you to recapture the benefits of onsite, face-to-face working, without being blindsided by outbreaks, staff absence and stalled productivity.
Making it simple for staff to do the right thing
Current lateral flow tests – which collect samples from the tonsils and upper nasal passage – are unpleasant and uncomfortable, often causing gagging, watering eyes and sneezing. That’s hard for staff to sustain twice a week. What’s more, the tests don’t distinguish between active and inactive virus particles, so a colleague can test positive – and take time off work to isolate – even when they’re no longer a danger to others.
You can now use a cutting-edge screening kit to test your team confidently and comfortably, so it’s easy for employees to do their bit. Staff just gather a quick saliva swab from the mouth, place it on a ready-to-go panel and get their results in 15 minutes. Test details are then loaded onto a bespoke app, which grants building or site access only to non-infectious workers.
Preparing for the unpredictable
The virus is surprising us all the time. Though incredibly rare, reports of ‘breakthrough infections’ in the United States prove that it’s possible to contract COVID-19 even when fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, the rapidly spreading Indian variant is causing increasing concern and threatening to force areas of the UK back into local lockdown.
The moral is, we need to make use of every possible safety measure – and make it effortless for employees to get on board. Quick, pain-free testing that’s designed to detect viral mutations can help you plan and progress in an unpredictable landscape.
Get a free KnowNowTM test sample
Every colleague and every company has a collective responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19 – but it helps to have the right tools. Used in tandem with the vaccine and other coronavirus controls, routine screening can make your workplace safer, more productive – and more like it used to be.
The UK-made KnowNowTM test provides 99.9% accurate results within 15 minutes, using only a saliva swab. KnowNowTM also pinpoints positive cases up to two days earlier than existing rapid antigen tests, so you can act on infection risks before they affect your business.