In Scotland and Wales, the vaccine rollout has been accelerated in response to new waves of Omicron infections across the country. The number of personnel from the Armed Forces supporting the effort in Scotland is now 221, and in Wales it’s 98.
The effort has been ongoing since early October 2021, with 121 Armed Forces members leading the charge, however the increased numbers of those on task is due to last until the end of February 2022.
The Armed Forces are on hand to provide more serves alongside the vaccination roll-out, as 114 personnel are driving ambulances to support the Scottish Ambulance service – a supporting service which will be going on until the end of March, however 96 personnel will remain on task to provide ongoing support to the life changing service.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
Our Armed Forces continue to tirelessly support the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Scotland to give people and communities vital protection against this virus.
This uplift in support will help to get more vaccines into arms faster, working shoulder to shoulder with the dedicated health services.
Who are the people 221 supporting the Scottish vaccine programme?
Amongst the Armed Forces, personnel are made up of health care professionals and general duties personnel who will work in support of NHS Scotland and NHS Wales staff and volunteers, and the tasks involve administering vaccines and providing planning expertise. Personnel will deploy to all seven Health Boards in Wales, with two teams assigned to each board, and have been assisting with tasks in Wales since the pandemic began including community testing and PPE delivery.
They come from units across the three services – Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.
Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said:
Once again our fantastic British Armed Forces are stepping up in times of need to help tackle Covid-19 in Scotland and across the UK and I pay tribute to them.
The deployment of a further 100 personnel will make a significant contribution to getting people vaccinated in Scotland. As the festive season approaches, when we want to spend time with loved ones, it’s more important than ever to be protected. I urge everyone to book their jabs as soon as they are eligible.
The defence’s work to support the UK’s pandemic response has been given the operational name of “Operation Rescript” and has involved making 398 personnel available for tasks in Scotland.
All support that is being provided goes through the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) process, and since March 2020, there have been over 430 MACA requests across the UK.
Brigadier Ben Wrench, Commander Joint Military Command Scotland said:
Whether it be responding to the impacts of storms or national health crises, the members of our Armed Forces are always prepared to deploy at short notice to support the nation and our communities.
I commend the dedication of all those serving and supporting this effort, many of whom will find themselves away from their families and loved ones this Christmas and Hogmanay.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
We are now supporting this national priority Covid-19 vaccination programme in Wales, Scotland and England.
Our Armed Forces are supporting our world class health services to accelerate the vaccine rollout and provide essential protection for people and communities. I urge anyone eligible to take up the offer of a vaccine.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
It is critical that as many people as possible receive the vaccine in our fight against Covid-19 and I’m hugely grateful to the UK’s Armed Forces for supporting this effort in Wales as well as continuing to support the work of the Welsh Ambulance Service.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the military has stepped up to support health services across Wales with the distribution of PPE, construction of a temporary hospital in Cardiff and assisting community testing in the South Wales valleys, demonstrating the UK Government’s commitment to meet the needs of the whole of the United Kingdom.
The Armed Forces are on hand to support communities, devolved nations and civil authorities as requested, if they meet MACA principles. This includes short notice support to places like Aberdeenshire Council in order to conduct welfare checks on vulnerable people and isolated communities impacted by Storm Arwen.