The British Army is establishing 80 new COVID-19 vaccine centres for NHS Scotland from today as part of one of the largest peacetime resilience operations ever undertaken by the British Armed Forces.

Ninety-eight soldiers, mainly from the Leuchars-based Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, will support NHS Scotland over the next 28 days, according to the MoD.

Organised into 11 Vaccination Centre Setup Teams spread across Scotland, the soldiers’ remit is to support the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and local authorities in operationalising vaccination centre sites. They will use their logistical, organisational and clinical expertise to establish the vaccine centres, before handing them over to NHS Scotland to deliver their vaccination programme.

Involving personnel from the Royal Army Medical Corps, the military team from Fife will survey suggested sites for suitability, then organise car parking and traffic flow systems, establish patient recording methods and practices, facilitate vaccine delivery to the sites, prepare storage for medicines and equipment, and conduct a smooth handover to NHS Scotland, say the Ministry of Defence in a news release.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“The Armed Forces are operating across the length and breadth of the country, using their unique skillset to ensure the vaccine reaches the very finger-tips of the United Kingdom. Our work supporting the new vaccine sites in Scotland complements the extensive preparation and planning the military are already conducting to support the vaccine roll out programme. Using the logistical expertise of military personnel, honed in warzones around the world, frees up NHS Scotland and Local Authorities to continue to focus on administering the initial 900,000 doses provided to Scotland by the UK Government in January.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:

“For us all, vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m very pleased that the expertise of the British Armed Forces is helping the Scottish Government get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible. The UK Government is supplying and paying for vaccines for the whole of the UK – it is now vital that these doses are administered as soon as possible. The UK Government is supporting all parts of the UK during the pandemic. That includes our unprecedented furlough scheme, delivering the bulk of daily testing in Scotland, and providing the Scottish Government with an extra £8.6 billion to support Scotland’s covid response.”

The Ministry of Defence also add that UK military support to the Scottish authorities is commanded and controlled by the Joint Military Command staff of 20 personnel in Stirling. This team is directing the 96 troops as they deploy from Leuchars in 11 teams to set up the 80 vaccine centres across Scotland – from Wick to Wigtown, as required. There are a further 32 UK military planners working in support of the Scottish Government team in St Andrews House, Edinburgh, and across Scotland’s 14 health boards.

“Examples of UK military support to the Scottish authorities during the pandemic include: RAF medical aero-evacuations from Shetland, Orkney and Arran in support of the Scottish Ambulance Service; planning advice in the setting up of the NHS Louisa Jordan facility in Glasgow; staffing all mobile COVID-19 testing units across Scotland for much of summer 2020. Across the UK there is a record 5,600 personnel committed to winter and COVID-19 operations are supporting 64 different tasks in the UK and abroad – this includes the vaccine rollout, NHS support and community testing across the UK.”

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Gordon Johnston
Gordon Johnston (@guest_536915)
3 months ago

Scotland’s immunisation rate is presently far below that of England & Northern Ireland so this will help. You have to ask why it has taken til now to get this all set up when the Scottish Government has had months to plan this out. Delay is costing lives.

Dave (@guest_536917)
3 months ago

The same thing is happening here in Wales. The same questions apply as well. They’ve had months to plan this and we’re at least three weeks behind England in terms of vaccine rollout.

Devolution is not all it’s cracked up to be when you have incompetent sycophants running the show.

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_537172)
3 months ago
Reply to  Dave

I totally agree Dave!

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_536923)
3 months ago

The SNP drop the ball, very odd, nothing on the lame stream media about that, I’m sure that’s somehow the fault of Boris too!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_536964)
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Sorry: didn’t you realise that when it goes wrong it is ALWAYS Westminster’s fault; when it goes right it is an SNP triumph?

Actually thinking about it Nicola will probably blame BREXIT.

Or, for the paranoid, maybe this is the beginning of an invasion lead by all the RN assets based on Scotland?

To be fair to the devolved administrations they are above EU average in terms of vaccination numbers……….so of moderate organisational competence…….

Being serious: I’m sure the boys are girls are feeling good about helping out the community.

Basra (@guest_537001)
3 months ago

Scotland has the highest rural population in the UK, Scotland’s vaccination rate was higher than England before new year, Scotland has an extra days public holiday at new year. Infections are running at a per capita rate in England that’s 3 or 4 times more than Scotland so England clearly has the need for as many resources as possible including the British Army. But yeah lets blame the SNP and make it all about independence again John.

Douglas Newell
Douglas Newell (@guest_537060)
3 months ago
Reply to  Basra

Remember, no-one is allowed to blame the SNP for anything. If it goes right, they take Plaudits but if anything goes wrong … its the big bad boys in England that did it.

The SNP has dropped the ball with vaccinations — despite getting extra money for the NHS via Barnett Consequentials. But yeah .. its not their fault, they’ve only been in charge of the Scotland for 15 years.

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_537175)
3 months ago
Reply to  Basra

It is the SNP that is refusing to accept quick vaccine teams!

Telling me it is astounding!

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_537177)
3 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X
Last edited 3 months ago by Meirion X
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_536971)
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Quite John. The usual.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_536983)
3 months ago

Evening Daniele,

Yep, same old mate…….

david (@guest_537006)
3 months ago

It’s England’s fault as with everything else that goes wrong north of the border (SNP policy).

Airborne (@guest_536987)
3 months ago

Most of the vaccination centres are being set up in parks and park benches, with white lightning labels attached to the vaccine, to ensure that 70% of the population get done by the end of the weekend.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_536989)
3 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Now then Airborne, you are going to get yourself dragged in front of ‘El Presidento ‘ Sturgeon if you’re not careful for an interview without Irn Bru….?

Airborne (@guest_536991)
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Bugger….thats me dragged from my bed in the dead of night by the local SNP black shirted supporters. To save them time I will burn all my books in my front garden and smash my Windows right now.

Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner (@guest_537095)
3 months ago

It did amuse me that the Telegraph used photos of heavily armed troops in full combat mode to illustrate this story- vaccination at gunpoint!

Douglas Newell
Douglas Newell (@guest_537113)
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian Skinner

I suppose it depends on which part of Glasgow you are in whether the Guns are necessary for safety.

The rest of us Scots love a chance to slag the Weegies.