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Army teams will deliver vaccinations with fleet of Land Rovers and Chinook helicopters

Send in the troops! 150 new mobile Army teams will deliver vaccinations with a fleet of Land Rovers and Chinook helicopters

  • It is part of a mission dubbed Operation Delta Force, Mail on Sunday can reveal
  • Defence sources say operation – named after elite US Special Forces unit – will involve medics and logistics experts helping to deliver vaccine in harsh winter
  • Plan could involve 1,500 personnel; it is understood to have been approved by Ministers, with troops beginning training in giving vaccine jabs from this week

The Armed Forces will create 150 mobile vaccination teams to deliver Covid jabs as part of a mission dubbed Operation Delta Force, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Defence sources say the operation – named after the elite US Special Forces unit – will involve teams of medics and logistics experts helping to deliver the vaccine in harsh winter weather.

The plan, which could involve up to 1,500 personnel, is understood to have been approved by Ministers, with troops beginning their training in giving vaccine jabs from this week. 

An official briefing document from a medical regiment, seen by this newspaper, also indicates that troops could be deployed to some of the Nightingale Hospitals created during the first wave to help handle excess demand.

The Armed Forces will create 150 mobile vaccination teams to deliver Covid jabs as part of a mission dubbed Operation Delta Force, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. (Above, members of the military in Cardiff last week)

Defence sources say the operation ¿ named after the elite US Special Forces unit ¿ will involve teams of medics and logistics experts helping to deliver the vaccine in harsh winter weather

Defence sources say the operation – named after the elite US Special Forces unit – will involve teams of medics and logistics experts helping to deliver the vaccine in harsh winter weather

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, welcomed the move.

‘It is fantastic,’ he said last night. ‘I have been calling for a greater use of the skills offered by the Armed Forces and these Delta Force teams are a perfect example of what the military can bring to the table. 

The Government has set the ambitious target of vaccinating two million people a week. 

Tobias Ellwood (above), chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, welcomed the move

Tobias Ellwood (above), chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, welcomed the move

To achieve this, it will need to use all the capabilities at its disposal, in particular the thousands of military personnel who stand ready to deploy across the UK.’

It is understood the teams will comprise soldiers from the Royal Army Medical Corps and troops from the UK’s standby battalions, who were recently deployed to Dover to give Covid tests to lorry drivers stranded outside the port.

A fleet of Army Land Rovers is being prepared for the mission with other personnel using Chinook helicopters to reach remote areas. 

Football and rugby clubs along with racetracks may be transformed into mobile vaccination centres.

The move follows criticism of the Government by MPs and former military officers over the lack of involvement by the Armed Forces in the battle against coronavirus.

Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey said it was a ‘no-brainer’ that more specially trained medics should be used, and Colonel Richard Kemp, a former member of the emergency Cobra committee, said Ministers should ‘treat the vaccination programme like a war and mobilise all possible resources, including the military’. 

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that 90 personnel will help health boards in Wales set up vaccination centres.

Troops from 1 Medical Regiment based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, are expected to join NHS staff at the Nightingales – seven makeshift hospitals built at a cost of £220 million last year. 

According to the briefing paper, vaccination training for the regiment’s soldiers will start on Thursday.

The MoD said: ‘The Covid Support Force has personnel, including specialist planners, medics and logisticians, ready to support responses to the outbreak, however required.’

Troops from 1 Medical Regiment based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, are expected to join NHS staff at the Nightingales ¿ seven makeshift hospitals built at a cost of £220 million last year. (Pictured, a member of the military at Maindy Barracks, Cardiff, on December 23)

Troops from 1 Medical Regiment based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, are expected to join NHS staff at the Nightingales – seven makeshift hospitals built at a cost of £220 million last year. (Pictured, a member of the military at Maindy Barracks, Cardiff, on December 23)

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