Boris Johnson told ‘act now and mobilise Army’ in final vaccination push

BORIS JOHNSON has been told to "act now" and "mobilise the Armed Forces" by Chair of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood, in a final push to vaccinate 13 million Britons during the six-week lockdown.

PUBLISHED: 13:34, Tue, Jan 5, 2021 | UPDATED: 13:50, Tue, Jan 5, 2021

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Boris Johnson: We are entering the last phase of the struggle

Last night the Prime Minister announced England would be placed under a third national lockdown to combat the rise in coronavirus cases in every part of the country due to the new strain of Covid-19. During an eight-minute address to the nation, the public were told to “stay at home” as they did during the first lockdown in March. It is expected the new measures, which replace the tiers system, will last until the middle of February, with Mr Johnson hoping more than 13 million people will have all been offered the first dose of a vaccine by then.

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But Mr Ellwood wants the PM to go one step further in a final push to meet that promise and get Britain back to normality by Easter.

He told Express.co.uk: “The unsung heroes during the pandemic and one of the assets that have not been utilised to their full extent is the Armed Forces.

“They have national capabilities, they are hugely flexible and extremely capable, as illustrated by the pilot testing programme in Liverpool and over Christmas dealing with the backlog of lorries in Dover.

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“What we are looking at now is an unprecedented rollout of a vaccination programme – the penny has already dropped that this takes us out of the difficult chapter we now enter.

Boris JohnsonBoris Johnson addressed the nation last night (Image: GETTY)

Boris JohnsonBoris Johnson addressed the nation last night (Image: GETTY)

“Anything we can do to expedite the vaccination programme should be considered.

“That leads to mobilising the Armed Forces to assist the NHS on a scale unseen before – I would highly recommend that to the Government.”

Mr Ellwood, who served in the Royal Green Jackets before becoming a Conservative MP, outlined a plan for Express.co.uk for how the military could be the perfect asset.

He added: “The legislation will be presented to Parliament and voted on tomorrow and I can’t see the third lockdown being voted down.

“The big difference now is we have the rollout of the vaccination which has to go to every single community across the country – the reach is the challenge.

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