COVID: Army To Set Up 80 Vaccination Sites In Scotland

Ninety-eight soldiers, organised into 11 Vaccination Centre Setup Teams, will support NHS Scotland over the next 28 days.

The British Army is establishing 80 new COVID-19 vaccination centres across Scotland.

Ninety-eight soldiers from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and Royal Army Medical Corps are being organised into 11 Vaccination Centre Setup Teams to support NHS Scotland over the next 28 days.

The personnel are lending their organisational and clinical expertise to help the health service administer as many vaccines as possible. 

Lieutenant Callum MacLeod is part of the team setting up a centre in Drumchapel, Glasgow.

He told Forces News: "We’re laying out flooring in order to facilitate them putting in tables and chairs to set out the vaccination centre.

"We're hoping to have that complete as soon as possible so that we can start firing people through.

"Every day that it goes on and these vaccination centres aren’t set up, people are losing their lives," he added.

The soldiers will also organise car parking and traffic flow systems, establish patient recording methods and practices, and oversee vaccine delivery to the sites.

Once the initial setup has been completed the centres will be handed over to NHS Scotland.

Nurse prepares to administer Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Western General Hospital, in Edinburgh 081220 CREDIT PA
Personnel will help establish the vaccination centres before handing them over to NHS Scotland (Picture: PA).

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Army's support "frees up NHS Scotland and local authorities" to focus on administering the initial 900,000 doses provided to Scotland this month.

Joint Military Command staff in Stirling are commanding the soldiers.

A further 32 military planners are working in support of the Scottish government team and across Scotland’s 14 health boards.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack told Forces News the military will continue to do "whatever is required, whenever it is required" to help the UK battle the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have the best armed services in the world and we are very fortunate to be able to call on them in moments like this," he said.

"So many times during this pandemic the British armed services have stepped up to come to civilian life’s help, it’s been a tremendous effort. We can’t thank them enough."

Previously, the RAF helped carry out medical aero-evacuations from Shetland, Orkney and Arran in support of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The military also provided planning advice in setting up the NHS Louisa Jordan facility in Glasgow, as well as staffing all mobile COVID-19 testing units across Scotland for much of last summer.