Covid-19: British army medics to join North’s vaccination drive

One death and 208 new cases reported as Boris Johnson visits Fermanagh vaccine centre

British military medics are to be deployed in Northern Ireland to help with the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The British government announced on Friday that 100 army medical personnel would be be sent to the North from the end of the month to support the accelerated rollout. It follows a request by the North’s Department of Health, which was approved by the UK defence secretary.

It would be the second time medically-trained British military personnel have travelled to assist the North’s pandemic response. Earlier this year, 110 army medics were deployed to assist nursing staff in hospitals.

Northern secretary Brandon Lewis said he was "pleased medically-trained personnel from our Armed Forces will support health and social care teams in the delivery of this unprecedented programme across Northern Ireland".


UK prime minister Boris Johnson toured a mass vaccination centre in the converted Lakeland Forum Leisure Centre in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh on Friday with the North's First Minister Arlene Foster and Minister for Health Robin Swann.

According to the most recent data from the Department of Health, as of Friday 664,029 doses of vaccine have been administered in Northern Ireland, which includes 614,629 first doses. A total of 6,677 jabs were given in the last 24 hours.

Positive tests

One more death with Covid-19 was reported by the Department on Friday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,097. A further 208 people tested positive for the virus.

Separate data published on Friday by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) put the number of coronavirus-related deaths up to March 5th at 2,845, compared to 2,069 recorded by the department in the same period.

Nisra recorded 22 fatalities in the week to March 5th. In care homes, where residents and staff were among the first cohort to receive the vaccine, no deaths were recorded that week.

The Nisra figures, which are released weekly, provide a broader picture of the impact of Covid-19 as they are based on death certificates on which coronavirus has been recorded as a factor by a medical professional, regardless of whether the death took place or whether the patient had tested positive for the virus.

The data released daily by the department is focused primarily on hospital deaths and includes only people who have tested positive for the virus.

Freya McClements

Freya McClements

Freya McClements is Northern Editor of The Irish Times