Coronavirus

COVID: Armed Forces Support For Vaccine Rollout In Wales Doubled

More than 520,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Wales.

The number of Armed Forces personnel supporting the coronavirus vaccine rollout in Wales is being more than doubled.

An additional 96 personnel are being deployed, including 20 defence medics who will boost the capacity of the team administering vaccines.

It comes as the Government announced more than half of all UK adults should receive a coronavirus vaccine by May.

The extra personnel will deploy from Saturday and are expected to be on task until the end of April.

Their progress will be reviewed after 15 February which is the target for offering a first dose of the vaccine to the top four priority groups.

The review will help the Government understand the level of demand for the 92 service personnel who have been supporting the Welsh government since early January, establishing and operating vaccination centres.

They are expected to complete their duties on 28 February.

Separately, the Government has also supplied two military planners to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in North Wales until mid-March to assist with the planning of the vaccination programme in the area.

An RAF veteran receiving a vaccine at Ty Penallta, Caerphilly (Picture: MOD).

On Friday, Public Health Wales said a total of 523,042 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had now been given, an increase of 32,472 from the previous day.

The agency said 1,635 second doses were also given, an increase of 419.

Minister for COVID vaccine deployment Nadhim Zahawi said the extra military support would be crucial to maintain the current "rapid" rollout across the UK.

"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," he said.

"Working alongside local partners and healthcare heroes, I’m grateful for their efforts which are testament to the strength of our union and will help us maintain the rapid pace of the rollout in all four corners of the UK."

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: "The vaccines represent the light at the end of the tunnel and their rapid rollout 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."

On Wednesday, it was announced that a further 81 military personnel were being deployed to Scotland to help with the vaccine rollout.

Cover image: Military personnel vaccinating at a centre in Cwmbran, South Wales (Picture: MOD).