Royal Navy, British Army and RAF mobilised to support coronavirus booster plan amid fears Omicron variant could kill '75,000 people by April'

HUNDREDS of military personnel are being mobilised to help deliver millions of booster jabs in the race to beat the latest variant of coronavirus, the Ministry of Defence has said.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 13th December 2021, 2:44 pm
Hundreds of military personnel have been scrambled to support the coronavirus booster vaccine programme. Photo: MoD

Around 750 servicemen and women will help deliver jabs and co-ordinate the ramped up rollout of the vaccine boosters across England and Scotland.

And some 600 personnel from across the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force have been made available to NHS England, delivering jabs in small teams across the country, and another 51 will help with planning, the MoD said.

Speaking today, defence secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘We have rapidly mobilised service personnel to work alongside our dedicated health services to accelerate the vaccine booster programme.

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Leading Naval Nurse Megan Muirhead learns the vaccination procedure from an NHS vaccination trainer.

‘Our armed forces will help to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible as we continue our efforts to support the UK’s response to the pandemic.’

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Military personnel from Portsmouth have previously been scrambled during the pandemic to help with vaccines and testing.

Sailors from HMS Prince of Wales were deployed to help run Covid-19 testing hubs across the region in July last year.

Pictured: Royal Navy personnel from HMS Prince of Wales operate a Mobile Testing Unit in Hampshire in July 2020.

While other medical personnel from the navy have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, supporting the NHS.

And soldiers from 12 Regiment, Royal Artillery, at Thorney Island, were also part of the effort to provide testing and support the vaccination rollout.

The latest effort comes amid fears of the Omicron variant of the virus, which experts have predicted could cause 75,000 deaths by April if action isn’t taken.

It’s expected personnel from the Portsmouth area will once again be scrambled to help deliver the booster vaccination programme.

Speaking of the latest military support for the vaccine booster programme, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘We are turbocharging our Covid-19 booster programme to offer every adult in England a vaccine by the end of the year to protect people from the Omicron variant.

‘Building our defences through boosters is a hugely important national mission and it’s brilliant to see the military supporting our NHS staff in our race against the virus.

‘Please get boosted now to top up your immunity and keep yourself and your loved ones safe this winter.’

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the defence staff and former First Sea Lord, added: ‘I am proud of our armed forces who are once again stepping up to help protect people and communities.

‘We have a long history of working hand in hand with the NHS as two organisations with a common goal – to help keep our people safe.’

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