COVID: Army 'Invaluable' In Setting Up Leicestershire Vaccination Centre

The local council building will be converted following agreement by the Ministry of Defence and the NHS and is due to open next month.

A councillor in Leicestershire says the military has been "invaluable" in getting a local council building in Loughborough converted into a mass coronavirus vaccination site.

The site is normally used by Charnwood Borough Council, which covers the town of Loughborough, and will be converted following agreement by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the NHS.

Work will soon begin to convert the building, which will be open to the public at the end of December.

It is being given to the MOD on a nine-month lease and will be "one of the UK’s first dedicated vaccination centres" according to Council Leader Jonathan Morgan.

"Having the Army and other services involved has been invaluable," he said.

"They also have amazing logistic skills in masterminding huge, complicated projects, and getting them to actually operate to a programme which at the moment is critical.

"They have been really, really good to work with."

On Thursday, Mr Morgan tweeted: "I can now confirm that @CharnwoodBC [Charnwood Borough Council] has been working with the NHS and MoD over a number of weeks to agree the conversion of a significant part of its #Loughborough HQ into one of the UK’s first dedicated vaccination centres - open from mid December. #GreatNews #Charnwood."

An official statement from Charnwood Borough Council added: "The offices have capacity as many more staff are working from home and that is a trend that is likely to continue long term. Our understanding is the centre could open mid-December."

Military personnel have recently been in Liverpool helping roll out a mass coronavirus testing pilot, including rapid turnaround tests.

Around 2,000 personnel originally deployed for a fortnight to offer rapid turnaround lateral flow COVID-19 tests to Liverpool residents, regardless of symptoms.

The Armed Forces have played a key role in the UK's response to coronavirus this year, with 12,500 personnel on standby as part of the Winter Support Force.