The British Army is set to assist in establishing 80 new Covid-19 vaccination centres across Scotland as part of an ongoing peacetime operation by the British Armed Forces.
Around 98 soldiers, primarily from the Leuchars-based Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, will assist National Health Service (NHS) Scotland to set up the vaccine sites over the next 28 days.
Personnel will be organised into 11 Vaccination Centre Setup Teams and will leverage their logistical and organisational skills to support vaccine delivery to the sites, prepare storage for medicines and equipment, and establish patient recording methods.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The armed forces are operating across the length and breadth of the country, using their unique skillset to ensure the vaccine reaches the very fingertips of the UK.
“Our work supporting the new vaccine sites in Scotland complements the extensive preparation and planning the military are already conducting to support the vaccine roll-out programme.
“Using the logistical expertise of military personnel, honed in warzones around the world, frees up NHS Scotland and local authorities to continue to focus on administering the initial 900,000 doses provided to Scotland by the UK Government in January.”
Once complete, the vaccine sites will be handed over to NHS Scotland.
Separately, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in the UK is also assisting the NHS to tackle vaccine-related challenges.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our vaccination programme covers all parts of the UK and I’m proud the armed forces are supporting the largest rollout in our country’s history.
“We have already vaccinated more than 3.5 million people across the UK and this is rapidly increasing every day as more vaccine sites open, providing easier access for people.”