The Ministry of Defence has received a ‘Military Aid to Civil Authorities’ request from the Scottish Government to assist with the vaccination programme.
Ian Murray Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, asked in a written Parliamentary question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Scottish Government has made any request to the armed forces for support in the covid-19 vaccine rollout in Scotland.”
James Heappey, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, responded:
“Yes. The Ministry of Defence has received a Military Aid to Civil Authorities request from the Scottish Government for 88 Service Personnel to support the identification and operationalisation of vaccination sites across Scotland.”
Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA), is the help and support provided by the Armed Forces to authorities in the UK, like the Police, NHS or local authorities. MACA may include assisting other government departments for urgent work of national importance such as responding to emergencies, maintaining supplies and essential services
In Scotland, military planners are already supporting the testing and vaccine programmes. Earlier during the pandemic Armed Forces personnel supported healthcare professionals to deliver testing at Glasgow Airport, and RAF Puma helicopters were deployed to Kinloss Barracks in Moray to provide emergency assistance to NHS boards and trusts across Scotland.
What else are the UK Armed Forces doing around the country?
The Ministry of Defence have outlined the support they’re giving to help roll-out the vaccine and to fight the pandemic in general. You can read the full text here but a summary is displayed below.
Over 5,000 UK Armed Forces personnel are currently deployed to support the response to the Coronavirus across the UK, working on 70 different tasks ranging from schools testing to the rollout of vaccines.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, military planners have been working in the background with colleagues from the NHS and other areas of Government to help coordinate the response to Coronavirus. Military logistical expertise has helped to arrange transport, PPE distribution, and construction.
- 10 military planners are assisting the Vaccine Task Force.
- Two military planners are supporting the Vaccine Task Force Director.
- Another 20 Military planners are helping regional planning, logistics and delivery.
In the 30 days since the Vaccine Task Force started, more than 1.4 million doses of vaccine have been delivered and 769 sites have been established. This is the equivalent to setting up a major supermarket chain in less than a month. If needed, a Vaccine Quick Reaction Force of around 130 personnel are ready to support the NHS, when and where they may need it.
This is part of a wider 1,500-strong reserve of personnel who could be made available should the NHS need them.
“This is the largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken by the UK Armed Forces and is drawing on every corner of expertise of the military. Personnel are also working inside NHS hospitals, with around 50 medics now committed to hospitals in Kent and Essex to ensure there is workforce resilience to cope with increasing demand. In Essex, Combat Medic Technicians (CMTs) are supporting a ‘step-down’ facility for those recovering from Covid-19.
A further 1,600 military medical professionals work in the NHS every day, from intensive care nurses to specialist surgeons, providing their skills on a permanent basis to support our health service. This means that very few defence medics are not currently deployed or working in the NHS. In Manchester, 800 personnel are deploying from nine regiments across the British Army at the request of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to support targeted asymptomatic testing of specific populations that may be at a higher risk of infection including social care staff, key workers, public facing occupations such as bus drivers, and those in high risk environments such care homes and shared accommodation for the homeless.
Over 2,155 personnel are deployed on community testing tasks, including in Lancashire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Kent. Local authorities are still able to apply for support from the Armed Forces to establish community testing programmes if required.”
“The UK Armed Forces stand ready to support responses to COVID-19 however required, with up to 12,000 personnel ready to support if needed. Whether distributing vaccines, driving ambulances or testing the public, the Armed Forces stand beside the thousands of NHS staff, council workers and others keeping the country ticking every day.”
The Ministry of Defence also say that military planners and liaison officers are embedded in local authorities, government departments and the devolved nations providing planning advice, and “crucially feeding in early where military support is most effectively used so resources can be deployed quickly and efficiently”.