Army ready to deploy 21 'jab squads' around the UK to help Boris hit vaccination target

BRITAIN'S army is ready to deploy 21 'jab squads' across the UK at short notice to help Boris Johnson hit his vaccine target, it was revealed tonight.

The PM put Britain on a war footing to defeat the virus with a fresh military strategy to help deliver hundreds of thousands of jabs a day by next week.

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Boris insisted that the Government would help get in place "battle preparation techniques to help us keep up the pace" as he promised every elderly care home resident would get the vaccine by the end of the month.

Brigadier Phil Prosser – appearing alongside the PM – told how top military battlefield planners will help thousands more to receive the jab in the coming weeks.

He said tonight: "In the event it is required, we also have 21 vaccination quick reaction teams, made up of six Military Health care experts able to deploy anywhere in England at short notice".

He said the strategy was "unparalleled in its scale and complexity" – even after his previous work in war zones in the past.

He said: "We aim to deliver vaccinations as soon after it is supplied as possible, not leaving vast supplies in the warehouse.

"In arms, not on shelves."

MoD top brass have been ordered to come up with plans for even distribution of the jab for all those that need it within the PM’s target of vaccinating the most vulnerable by mid-February.  

Government insiders insisted that the deployment was military planners rather than troops at this stage. 

It came as:

  • The UK recorded 52,618 new COVID-19 coronavirus cases and 1,162 additional deaths
  • Matt Hancock laid out four criteria for lifting Britain's lockdown – and said he thinks this third lockdown will be the last
  • Cops warned they would step up fines of people not wearing masks and breaking lockdown laws
  • Priti Patel backed police in stopping cars or approaching people in parks to tell them to remain at home
  • A new Covid drug was revealed today which can slash the amount of time sick people are spending in hospital
  • A hospital in Kent declared it may be forced into "refusal or withdrawal of critical care due to resource limitation" as it was struggling so much

The PM said tonight that by next Friday, January 15, the rollout of the vaccine would be hugely ramped up, as he revealed that nearly 1.5million had been given their first dose so far.

A new national booking service for people to be vaccinated will also be unveiled – and no one will have to travel more than ten miles to get one, the PM added.

Speaking at a press conference tonight, he announced that GP-led vaccine sites providing jabs will increase to over 1,000 by the end of next week, and promised hundreds of thousands of doses every day.

And he insisted he had "no doubt" that there would be enough supply to offer everyone in the top four vulnerable groups a vaccine by his February 15 deadline.

He added: "We are in a race against time, but I can assure you we are doing everything we can to vaccinate as many people as we can across the whole of the UK."

A fuller plan will be published on Monday – along with the first day of the daily vaccine figures.

NHS boss Simon Stevens said the bulk of the jabs will be through GPs offering it to local patients, but people will also be able to get them through hospital hubs, and mass vaccination centres working 7 days a week.

And he tragically told how "We’ve seen an increase of 10,000 hospitalised coronavirus patients just since Christmas Day”.

The equivalent of 20 acute hospitals has been admitted since Christmas day – and many caught Covid between Xmas and New Year.


He noted that the Israelis had chosen to do more vaccinations through larger sites – which is partly why they had given out more doses to their population so far.

Mr Stevens also warned that the number of people in hospital was now 50 per cent higher than the first wave, as he begged Brits to stick to the rules and was "vital we all do take the steps necessary to control the growth of infection".

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