Armed Forces personnel will administer the vaccine in Scotland for the first time, as the number of military personnel increases to over 200 supporting the rollout.
A further 57 military personnel will deploy to assist health boards across Scotland with the vaccine roll out, this is in addition to the 98 members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards who are already supporting the vaccine effort.
According to a Ministry of Defence statement:
“The medics and management staff will make up a Vaccine Quick Reaction Force, which will see 5 teams of 10 able to deploy across Scotland at short notice, in order to assist NHS staff in delivering the vaccine. Teams will start deploying from tomorrow with some beginning to see patients immediately, including supporting Lothian Health Board by administering vaccinations at the Royal Highland Showground. Up to 24 logistic support staff, mostly from Edinburgh-based 3rd Battalion The Rifles, will assist Health Boards running of vaccination centres in Grampian, Dumfries and Galloway, Borders and Lothian.”
Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said:
The Armed Forces are an important part of the vaccine roll out in Scotland. They lift spirits and boost morale and I am delighted that they will be joining together with our marvellous health-care workers to ensure the vaccine is delivered to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible to protect the most vulnerable. Our service men and women have provided expertise, resilience and flexibility to NHS Scotland in this huge logistical undertaking and these additional medics will provide surge support where it is most needed to administer the vaccine.”
It is understood that the Joint Military Command in Scotland already has 98 members of the Fife-based Royal Scots Dragoon Guards on the ground, assisting health boards with the set-up of up to 80 vaccination centres across Scotland. They are currently working on sites at the Lagoon Centre in Paisley Donald Dewar Sports Centre in Drumchapel and Castlemilk Sports Centre in Glasgow, all 80 will be handed over to NHS Scotland.
Additionally, 32 planning and support personnel are supporting the Scottish Government and local health boards.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:
“The British Armed Forces are carrying out vital work to support the rollout of vaccines across Scotland. Nearly 100 military personnel are already setting up 80 Scottish vaccine centres, and from this week an additional 57 will also be helping to get needles into arms. More are on standby to help with testing, which is still so important. I would like to thank all of our fantastic military personnel for their great work in helping fight the pandemic, right across the UK.”
The military has been involved in supporting Scotland’s response to the COVID pandemic since March 2020, providing planners, logistics specialists and aircraft medical evacuation capability, as well as the delivery of a Mobile Testing Unit service throughout the summer of 2020.
Across the UK there are over 5,200 personnel committed to winter and COVID-19 operations are supporting 80 different tasks in the UK and abroad – this includes the vaccine rollout, NHS support and community testing across the UK