Armed Forces to help boost Scotland’s vaccination efforts

Their activity will include administering vaccines, as well as providing logistics and planning support.

Armed Forces to help boost Scotland’s vaccination efforts iStock

Armed Forces personnel are to help accelerate the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Scotland.

Under the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) scheme, 63 members from across all three services will be deployed from Monday for up to five weeks.

Their activity will include administering vaccines, as well as providing logistics and planning support.

A total of 42 of those will be deployed to NHS Lothian and will consist of 36 vaccinators, four registered health professionals and two command and control officers.

They will be split into four vaccine support teams who can deploy across Lothian as required.

Similarly, a total of 21 service personnel will be deployed to NHS Lanarkshire, made up of 18 vaccinators, two registered health professionals and one command and control manager.

They will form two vaccine support teams and will deploy across Lanarkshire as required.

Commander Joint Military Command Scotland, Brigadier Ben Wrench, said he is proud that the Armed Forces can contribute towards the national effort and support the NHS.

He said: “The Armed Forces have been assisting in the fight against coronavirus across Scotland from the outset, providing support to the life-saving and protecting work performed by NHS Scotland and their partners.

“As the Commander of the Joint Military Command Scotland, I am proud that we in the Armed Forces can contribute towards this national effort, standing with and supporting the NHS to help protect the people of Scotland.”

Secretary of state for Scotland Alister Jack said: “It’s pleasing to see our fantastic British Armed Forces continuing to play a key role in keeping us safe and helping defeat Covid.

“Their deployment to the central belt next week will help with Scotland’s vital vaccination programme and ensure an acceleration of jabs into arms.

“There is much to be hopeful about in the fight against Covid thanks to the UK Government procuring and paying for millions of vaccine doses for people in all parts of the UK and the dedication and professionalism of the NHS and our military.” 

Scotland’s health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has been involved in the vaccine rollout in Scotland, including the military, which has ensured more than two million people have received both doses.

“We remain on track to offer the vaccine to all adults by the end of July, but the emergence of the new variant shows that we cannot be complacent.

“That is why, as we have done previously, we have requested military support to complement our existing resources and to ensure we can get even more vaccinations into arms as quickly as possible.”

He added: “The vaccination programme is one of the main ways – along with restrictions and testing – that we are working to beat this virus and so it is crucial that everyone attends for their appointments when they are offered.

“That includes going for second doses as they are vital in providing greater and longer lasting protection against the virus.”