Royal Navy sends 'proud' Portsmouth medics to deliver thousand of Covid-19 vaccines to the elderly and key workers

THE Royal Navy has sent a team of medics to help administer Covid-19 vaccines at one of the country’s mass-immunisation hubs – and it marks the ‘proudest moment’ of service for those travelling from Portsmouth.

By Richard Lemmer
Saturday, 16th January 2021, 6:15 pm

A six-strong team has been mobilised to vaccinate NHS, key workers, and those aged over 80 at a mass-immunisation centre in Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium.

The team is made up of GPs, nurses, and medical assistants from across the Navy, including ships, establishments and medics working in NHS hospitals.

For Lieutenant Lauren Hodges, a senior nursing officer aboard Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, the vaccination work has been a highlight of her service.

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Royal Navy medics are delivering hundreds of vaccine jabs to people in the South West as part of the national effort to end the pandemic. Picture: Royal Navy

She said: ‘This is probably my proudest moment – being part of a national effort to hopefully get ahead of Covid and get the country back to some form of normality.’

‘The set up here is fantastic – really well organised, especially given the size of the operation and the speed with which it has been set up.’

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The team met prime minister Boris Johnson when he visited during their training last week, and they are now delivering jabs to roughly 800 people a day.

Naval Regional Commander Brigadire Jock Fraser, Royal Marines, supporting a team of Navy medics to deliver Covid-19 jabs.

Leading Seaman Nicole Ellis, an operating theatre nurse at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital, added: ‘It’s a great feeling to be part of a national effort and part of history. We’ve helped deliver the vaccine to all these people – and they’re very happy to receive it.

‘They feel that they can move on a bit with their lives.’

Surgeon Lieutenant Ryan Dodd, who works in the sickbay at engineering training establishment HMS Sultan in Gosport, was at sea for most of 2020 and found it frustrating he could not help his civilian friends and counterparts tackling the virus.

He said: ‘I cannot stress how happy I am to be helping – although I was doing my duty with the Navy, it was hard to watch from the sidelines as friends and former colleagues were working hard through the pandemic.

‘It’s great to be here, helping the NHS, supporting where we can, delivering vaccinations to those most in need as safely and efficiently as we can.’

After immunising the priority cases, the team will move on to delivering jabs to people over 70, then the over 65s.

Once their work is done in Bristol, the team will move on to vaccinate people in the Taunton area.

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