Soldiers help NHS staff and volunteers roll out the Covid vaccine – South London News

Soldiers have been drafted in to help make sure as many people as possible can get their anti-Covid vaccine booster jabs.

Armed Forces personnel have joined up with the local NHS staff to boost the drive to stop residents getting the virus in south-west London.

Around 15 servicemen and women have been helping to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations and co-ordinate the roll-out as the new Omicron variant continues to spread.

Personnel from across the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force have been made available to the NHS, delivering jabs in small teams across the country, and 130 are helping with planning.

In south west London, the military personnel have been joined by the Royal Voluntary Service, community organisations, two teams from London Fire Brigade and St John Ambulance volunteers in supporting the local NHS vaccination effort.

They have been helping out in Wandsworth, Merton and Croydon, as well as other boroughs further out such as Richmond, Kingston and Sutton.

People are being urged to make an appointment using the national booking service to guarantee their vital Covid-19 jab at one of the many south-west London clinics. Some local vaccination sites may offer a walk-in service if they have spare capacity but there may be a wait.

Dr Patrick Gibson, local GP and borough GP lead for Richmond with south West London Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “With Omicron spreading fast, it has never been more important to bolster your defences against Covid-19 so we’re really pleased the Armed Forces have joined our vaccination drive.

“Whether you need a booster or one of the other doses, it’s vital people come forward as soon as possible by booking a jab online. The data clearly shows that the booster gives the best possible protection against the new variant while first and second doses give higher protection against the serious complications of Covid-19.

“The best way to get your vaccine is by booking online – please keep checking availability as more appointments get added to the system every day – and if you can’t use the internet, call 119.”

Over the coming days, opening hours for vaccine centres are being extended and the number of appointments in place is being dramatically increased.

The following vaccinations can be booked:

  • first and second doses for people aged 12 years old and over
  • boosters for people aged 18 years old and over
  • boosters for people aged 16 and 17 years old who are at high risk from Covid-19 or frontline health and social care workers
  • third doses for people with a severely weakened immune system aged 18 years old and over.

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