The Duke spoke to those on the call about their individual roles as part of the national vaccine rollout, and how they felt to be involved.
The Duke of Cambridge said:
‘I really appreciate all the hard work that you guys are doing at the moment. It’s making a huge difference. I hear that from the NHS side as well so they’re very grateful for the support that you are giving.”
Private Jack Morelli, a Combat Medical Technician (CMT), is supporting the vaccination rollout in the East of England, vaccinating members of the public. Jack, of 16 Medical-Regiment, said that the vaccination centres he has worked at have a really positive atmosphere, and the camaraderie between the NHS staff and the military is great.
Teen CMT Private Abigail Render, of 4 Medical Regiment, had only recently finished her training prior to her deployment on the vaccination rollout in the North East. Originally from Leeds, Abi is proud to be helping her home region and has enjoyed meeting and speaking to older generations, including many veterans.
The 19-year-old said she’s amazed by how happy they are to be getting vaccinated and how thankful everyone is for the work she is doing.
Lieutenant Alexandra Merisoiu, also of 4 Med Regt, is a Vaccine Quick Reaction Force Regional Team Manager, managing six teams across the South East. She feels privileged to have had the opportunity to support the nation during the pandemic.
Alex is originally from Bucharest, Romania. She moved to the UK in 2011 and became a British Citizen in 2018. She commissioned from Sandhurst in December 219 as a Medical Support Officer and this is her second deployment as part of the COVID Support Force. Last year, she also helped to support the build of the Bristol Nightingale Hospital.
The three Army medics were also joined on the call by two medical personnel from the Navy and the RAF.
Armed Forces Support to the Vaccination Rollout
More than 5,000 military personnel are committed to COVID-19 operations supporting 74 different tasks in the UK and abroad including the vaccine rollout, support to hospitals and community testing across the UK.
There are 42 Vaccine Quick Reaction Force teams available to provide short notice vaccine support to the seven NHS regions. Each team is made up of medically trained personnel who can vaccinate people when requested by the NHS in a ‘surge’ capacity. Each NHS region has a Medical Support Officer (MSO) to interlink and manage the teams. These mobile teams have deployed to help administer vaccines across the country, including Ashton Gate in Bristol and Southend University in Essex.
In Wales, over 180 service personnel are supporting Wales’ Health Boards to establish and operate vaccination centres. In Scotland, over 200 service personnel have deployed to support the vaccination roll-out.
The Ministry of Defence has deployed 28 military planners to assist the Vaccine Task Force in Skipton House – including Brigadier Phil Prosser, Commander 101 Logistic Brigade. A further 200 personnel are working across the UK to support organisational and logistical components of the Vaccine Deployment Programme.