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Soldiers support NHS vaccination efforts in North West England

Service personnel from a number of British Army units have been vaccinating members of the public in Bolton this week as part of a Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) task.

The initiative, featuring soldiers from 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (1 RHA) and the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), has seen troops deploy at pace to Bolton after a request from the Council.

Major Chris Billups, Commanding Officer of 1 RHA, said:

“The NHS and local authority teams, across both Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, have been superb.

"We are well aware that they have been in this fight against Covid-19 for many months now; the fact that they are able to welcome and integrate our support so well is a testament to their character.

“Most of our joint sites are now up and running, with more in the pipeline over the next few days, and we look forward to supporting them.”

The support offered by the military is extensive and versatile, and is intended to assist colleagues across national and local government who are leading with the mission.

Dr Helen Wall, Senior Responsible Officer for the Vaccination Programme in Bolton, said:

“We are very grateful for the support of the British Army.

"They have settled in nicely and will be working alongside Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, our GP-led services and Bolton GP Federation and as we tackle the current situation.

"We have a lot of experience of partnership working in Bolton and this latest collaboration will provide welcome additional capacity to our vaccination programme.”

The NHS and local authority teams have been superb Major Chris Billups

Alongside NHS colleagues, over 30 military medics administered around 800 vaccines on Wednesday alone to ensure that the Bolton public are kept safe.

On the streets of the town, more than 75 soldiers have visited thousands of homes to hand out information leaflets and PCR testing kits.

Additional personnel are on standby to bolster counter-Covid efforts in the local area as required, with other units across the UK also hard at work with different MACA missions.

All military training exercises and operations are conducted according to Covid-19 guidance issued by the UK Government.

All soldiers are tested for Covid-19 before deploying to support civil authorities.