THE Army has been drafted in to help deliver Covid vaccines in Southend.

A total of 18 Army personnel are helping with the rollout at Southend Hospital.

The hospital recently started offering the vaccine to the virus, following on from Basildon Hospital giving out the first doses before Christmas. Broomfield Hospital also started to offer vaccines last week in Chelmsford.

A British Army spokesman said: “A small team from the military’s Vaccines Quick Reaction Force is working to support the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine at Southend Hospital.

“The force is made up of medically trained personnel who have been requested to work alongside the hospital’s clinical staff on a short-term basis to bolster its capacity.”

The Mid and South Essex Hospitals Trust said the use of the Army personnel would allow other NHS workers to be redeployed to help other wards.

A spokesman said: ““A team of medical technicians from the military is currently working alongside clinical staff at Southend Hospital to help give patients the Covid-19 vaccine.

“This short-term and coordinated support is helping the local NHS in our acute hospitals.

“The the best way to reduce the rising number of Covid-19 patients we are seeing is to observe the hands face space guidance and respect social distancing.”

The news comes as 17 more people died from the virus in Southend Hospital between Friday and Sunday, totalling 480.