Military support doubled in Wales to support coronavirus vaccine roll-out

Combat medic Private Keir Livingstone administers the Covid vaccine at a vaccination centre in Cwmbran Credit: Ministry of Defence

Military support is to be temporarily doubled in Wales to support the coronavirus vaccine roll-out.

An extra 96 service personnel will be deployed to carry out a range of tasks, such as delivering the vaccine and setting up mass vaccination sites.

The extra support includes forces medics, who will lead teams of local vaccinators and help to administer the jabs to people.

They will begin on February 6 and will support the vaccination programme until the end of April.

There are already 92 military staff in Wales who have been helping with the roll-out since early January. They are expected to complete their duties at the end of February.

A review of the additional support is planned for mid-February, which is the target for offering a first dose of the vaccine to the top four priority groups.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has previously said how grateful he is for all the help the Armed Forces has provided during the pandemic.

RAF veteran Ronald Maidment, 93, pictured chatting to RAF personnel after receiving his jab in Caerphilly Credit: Ministry of Defence

Defence Minister James Heappey said: “I’m proud that the UK Armed Forces and NHS are working so closely together to roll-out the vaccine across the UK. With this deployment we are stepping up our support in Wales, bringing specialist skills to accelerate vaccinations and save lives.”

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: “The vaccines represent the light at the end of the tunnel and their rapid roll-out across the UK will help us regain normality as soon as possible.

“The British Armed Forces are vital in this effort and I’m incredibly thankful for the work they have been carrying out in Wales throughout the pandemic.”

Minister for Covid vaccine deployment Nadhim Zahawi said: “Our military personnel are playing a crucial role in making sure that those who are eligible for the vaccine in every part of the United Kingdom get their jabs as quickly as possible."

Royal Air Force personnel support Covid-19 testing in Merthyr Tydfil Credit: Ministry of Defence

The Armed Forces have provided significant support in Wales throughout the pandemic.

As well as assisting the vaccine roll-out, they have supported the Welsh Ambulance Service with more than 90 ambulance drivers and defence medics.

Military planners are also in place across Wales, including the seven local health boards. This support is in addition to the development of field hospitals, including at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, the delivery of PPE and support for the community testing programme in Merthyr Tydfil.