Following the Government statement on defence support in the national covid response, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown asks what role the armed forces can play in the task of vaccinating the majority of the nation.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con) [V]
The entire nation should be grateful for the adaptability of our armed forces, whether it be for the rapid building of the Nightingale hospitals, the roll-out of personal protective equipment, or help with track and trace. As we build up with vaccine deliveries the unprecedented task of vaccinating the majority of the nation, can my right hon. Friend set out what role the armed forces will play in that huge task?
As I have said right from the beginning, we are involved with the vaccine taskforce, making sure that we are on the frontline so that we can jump in and fill any gaps that emerge. We have set up a quick reaction force. Up to 250 people, and more if required, will be able to go out and take vaccines to people if that stock needs to be delivered. That could deliver a significant uplift in the numbers of people being injected. At the same time, we have people embedded in the regional Toggle showing location ofColumn 190vaccine offices of the NHS, where the NHS is planning how it will deliver the vaccine in the regions and, indeed, in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, to make sure that, wherever there is a gap, the MOD will try to fill it.