Members of the Armed Forces will be deployed across Wales this winter to help set up and operate vaccination centres in the community.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart and the Defence Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey have approved a Military Aid to the Civilian Authorities (MACA) request for the Welsh Government. The MACA provides more than 90 service personnel to support Wales’ Health Boards in rapidly establishing and operating vaccination centres.
As the vaccination programme is rolled out during the rest of December and into January, military personnel will support the setting up of additional capacity as greater quantities of vaccine are made available. And for the first time since the vaccine has been rolled out, trained defence medics will also support the administering of the vaccine.
The MOD currently has around 14,000 personnel held at graduated readiness as part of the Winter preparedness 2020 Package. This package will ensure defence remains ready to respond to requests for support at necessary pace, including but not limited to COVID-19 support.
The military aid request runs between 4 January to 28 February 2021 and will see members of the Armed Forces delivering the vaccine, setting up equipment and carrying out a number of other functions.
Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, said: “The roll-out of the vaccine is a considerable logistical challenge, so we have approved the deployment of Armed Forces personnel to help with its distribution in Wales.
“The use of the military to help with this vital work shows how we can pull together to meet the needs of the whole of the United Kingdom as we tackle the pandemic.
“With case rates high across many areas of Wales, it is important that we continue to support the Welsh Government. The huge number of vaccines that the UK Government has procured and the assistance of the Armed Forces in distributing them will help turn the tide in this fight.”
Commenting, Wrexham’s MP Sarah Atherton said: “I am grateful to see that our Armed Forces’ unique expertise utilised in the distribution and administration of the vaccine rollout. This is the right decision.
“Whilst the vaccine rollout has already commenced in North Wales, with several vaccination clinics having taken place, I am sure this additional support will ensure this excellent work can continue. Throughout this pandemic, I have been aware of the many ways in which the Armed Forces have been able to assist to fight against COVID-19, and I am pleased to see this continue in Wales during this critical period.
“I am also glad to see that, once again, the UK Government has stepped in to assist in Wales during this difficult period.”
Defence Minister, James Heappey, added: "Since the beginning of the pandemic, our Armed Forces have stepped up to support health services across the UK.
“In Wales, our personnel have already helped with the distribution of PPE, construction of a temporary hospital in Cardiff and, most recently, the rollout of community testing in the South Wales Valleys.
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