Covid-19 vaccinations should be offered to all residents of towns or villages experiencing clusters of the virus, a public health expert has said.
Professor Gabriel Scally said movement in and out of affected areas should be banned, while specialist teams should carry out mass testing, contact tracing and vaccination to stop a further Covid-19 surge.
Prof Scally, a member of the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has also raised concerns over plans to introduce mass home testing.
Everyone in England will be given access to two rapid coronavirus tests a week from Friday in a plan the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said will help suppress any outbreaks as lockdown eases.
The lateral flow kits, which can provide results in around half an hour, will be available for free at testing sites, pharmacies and through the post.
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has not said whether it plans to follow suit, although lateral flow tests are being used for the workplace testing programme here.
Prof Scally said: "These tests have limited value as they are only really 50% effective at picking up positive cases, so I wouldn't want people making really important decisions from the results.
"Picking up 50% of positive cases is better than 0% and they're useful for workplace testing, such as in meat processing plants, but I certainly wouldn't think it was safe to visit a vulnerable relative or friend if I had a negative result.
"It just wouldn't be safe, I would be worried about these tests giving false reassurance to people who potentially have the virus and it changes their behaviour."
Prof Scally said he is optimistic that Northern Ireland can escape a further deadly Covid-19 surge but he stressed that health authorities must ensure a robust test, trace and isolate system is in place and called for the introduction of automatic testing for all close contacts.
He also recommended a specialist response to future clusters.
It comes as official figures suggest the return of pupils to school has not resulted in a spike of cases. Health bosses had warned they expected a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections after the phased return of pupils to class, which began on March 8.
According to Department of Health statistics, there were 185 positive cases in people up to 19 years old between March 1 and 7.
There were 163 cases diagnosed in the seven-day period between March 27 and April 2. All schoolchildren are due to return to class next Monday.
Prof Scally said it is likely there will be an increase in cases as a result of pupils going back to school but he believes it will not be a significant rise.
"The vaccination programme has made a huge difference," he said.
"There has been a lot of talk about another wave but I can't really see it happening, although it is a possibility if relaxations happen too quickly.
"There are going to be clusters here and there and it is essential the authorities respond quickly. What they should be doing is stopping movement in and out of areas where there are clusters, teams should be sent in to test everything that moves and do really good contact tracing.
"They should also vaccinate everyone who hasn't yet been vaccinated. That would be the logical thing to do."
According to figures released yesterday, two further Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded in Northern Ireland and 89 people had tested positive over the previous 48 hours. More detailed information will be available tomorrow.