Coronavirus

COVID: Vaccine Rollout Begins At British Forces Cyprus

A frontline military nurse, who will now be administering the vaccine, was the first to receive it.

A frontline military nurse has been the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on the British bases in Cyprus.

Corporal Hannah Mortimer, of the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps, will now be one of 11 medical professionals who will be vaccinating personnel.

Speaking at Episkopi Medical Centre, she told Forces News: "It felt really good. Hopefully, life can start getting back to normal again.

"It also feels good that myself, if I were to get coronavirus, I’m less likely to become really unwell from it.

"It doesn't hurt at all, it just feels like any other jab."

The first shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on Wednesday, with enough doses for 1,000 people.

The Commander of British Forces Cyprus, Major General Rob Thomson, said the delivery marks an "important moment" in the fight against COVID-19.

Each vial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine contains eight doses, which need to be administered within six hours of opening.

"[It] shows people there really is light at the end of the tunnel and that we're heading for a more normal existence through 2021," he said.

"In this first phase, those people who are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, our medical careers and our practitioners and those over 50 will be vaccinated.

"So it is in line with what's going on in the UK and in line with what's going on in Cyprus.

"The Prime Minister has been very clear about his ambition to get adults vaccinated by July, I think he said, so we would aim to be in line with the UK," he added.

Medical personnel are continuing to administer COVID-19 tests and urging personnel in Cyprus to maintain strict social distancing and carry on wearing masks for the foreseeable future.

In the UK, the Armed Forces' response to COVID-19 has become the biggest-ever homeland military operation in peacetime.