Armed forces help set up coronavirus vaccination centre at Musselburgh’s Queen Margaret University
The coronavirus vaccination centre at Musselburgh’s Queen Margaret University is set to open on Wednesday.
On Monday, the armed forces were seen to be assisting with the final stages of the set up of the drive-through centre.
A total of 98 soldiers, mainly from the Leuchars-based Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, have been supporting NHS Scotland since mid-January in Vaccination Centre Setup Teams across Scotland.
They have been using their logistical, organisational and clinical expertise to establish the vaccine centres, before handing them over to NHS Scotland to deliver their vaccination programme.
The new vaccination centre at the university will be capable of vaccinating more than 5,000 people per week at 12 drive-through stations.
The final preparations are being now put in place and there will be some re-routing of vehicle access to the campus to ensure easy access for the public to the vaccination centre, and for staff and students.
The UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:”The armed forces are operating across the length and breadth of the country, using their unique skillset to ensure the vaccine reaches the very finger-tips of the United Kingdom. Our work supporting the new vaccine sites in Scotland complements the extensive preparation and planning the military are already conducting to support the vaccine roll out programme. Using the logistical expertise of military personnel, honed in warzones around the world, frees up NHS Scotland and Local Authorities to continue to focus on administering the initial 900,000 doses provided to Scotland by the UK Government in January.”
Sir Paul Grice, principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “This is just one of many ways in which QMU has been supporting the response to Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic, our academics have been quick to act, drawing on their expertise.
"For example, we have been investigating what services people need when they are recovering from the virus in isolation. Another of our multidisciplinary teams has been exploring the impact of restrictions during the pandemic on loneliness and isolation within Scotland’s refugee and asylum seekers’ community.
“In addition, we equipped our healthcare students to move quickly from university directly into professional roles within our NHS to support our healthcare service at a time of crisis. Beyond that, our students, graduates and staff teams have also worked tireless to lead and support all manner of community initiatives such the Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts social enterprise, led by one of our Gastronomy students, which has prepared thousands of healthy free meals for people in need during the pandemic.
“Supporting the development of the Covid-19 vaccination centre fits so well with Queen Margaret University’s purpose of helping to create a better society, and the value we place upon partnership, and I am thankful to all our staff who are working hard to support NHS Lothian in its delivery of this project.”
For health and safety reasons, the public are encouraged not to visit the site of the vaccination centre except if they have an appointment for a vaccination, and only then at the time they have their appointment.