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Defence’s COVID-19 support – Update 22 January

Some 5,000 service personnel remained on winter and Covid operations as of 21 January, supporting 66 ongoing Military Aid to Civilian Authority tasks of 300 requests since the pandemic hit.  This included the vaccine rollout, NHS support and community testing across the UK.  Around 14,000 personnel remained on standby.

This is the largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken by the UK Armed Forces, across all four home nations and focused on three strands of the Covid response – testing, vaccines and clinical support for the NHS.  It is drawing on every corner of expertise of the services.  Areas of support include:

Armed forces personnel on support duty with the Welsh Ambulance Service

Full updates here and here.

RN medical team vaccinate thousands, Bristol area

Royal Navy medical staff are delivering hundreds of vaccine jabs a day to people in the South West.

A six-strong team is vaccinating NHS and key workers and over-80s in the Bristol area, working with health service colleagues at a mass immunisation centre.  The centre, at the home of Bristol City FC, is one of a growing fleet of large-scale hubs delivering the vaccine in major population centres.

The team of nurses, medical assistants and GPs has been drawn from across the Navy and NHS hospitals.

Lieutenant Lauren Hodges, Senior Nursing Officer HMS Prince of Wales, said:

“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.”

The team trained in early January, met Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he visited the facility, and have been delivering vaccines since the centre opened on 12 January, jabbing roughly 800 people a day.  After immunising the top priority cases, they’ll move on to delivering jabs to people over 70, then the over 65s.  Once finished in Bristol, the team will move on to cover the Taunton area.

More here.

COVID-19 in Defence – Tests, cases, plans – Update 21 January

MoD regularly reports on COVID-19 in Defence.

The latest report, dated 21 January, shows that as of 8 January “a minimum of” 4,303 service personnel had tested positive, including 1,431 RN/RM/reserve.

In all, 81,279 tests had been administered across Defence as part of the national testing programme, including 13,632 “Navy” (12,678 uniformed, 954 civilian) and 40,746 UK Strategic Command.

The report says:

“COVID-19 will be a defining feature of the Defence operating environment for the foreseeable future. As such, the Ministry of Defence has moved from the COVID Defence management plan to the COVID Defence recovery and response plan. This plan is to enable Defence to adapt to living with COVID-19 for an extended period and prepare and respond to changes in government guidance.”

As part of the national testing programme, armed forces personnel, MoD civilians and contractors are considered essential workers, and thus eligible for priority testing.

Report here.

What to expect when going for a jab

Online article aimed at countering disinformation here.

SANO events

Following the Covid-inflicted cancellation of most of our events this year, as Bob said in the November newsletter:

“We will, at the earliest opportunity, formulate a programme for 2021 for you to enter into your diaries.”  December brought no tidings of comfort and joy in that regard.