The British Army is establishing 80 new COVID-19 vaccine centres for NHS Scotland from today (Monday 18th January) as part of the largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken by the UK Armed Forces.
Ninety-eight soldiers, mainly from the Leuchars-based Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, will support NHS Scotland over the next 28 days.
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.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said
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.