Army Medic Who Missed Deployment Due To COVID Helps Scottish Vaccine Rollout

Major Sam Nicholls contracted coronavirus last year and was unable to go to Afghanistan with 2 SCOTS.

An Army medic who contracted COVID-19, which forced her to miss deployment to Afghanistan, is assisting the vaccination rollout in Scotland.

Major Sam Nicholls had been due to go to Kabul with 2 SCOTS, who she described as being like her "family".

She has been a part of the battalion for 18 months but could not join them when they left for Afghanistan in October.

A long period of recovery followed, but Major Nicholls is now assisting NHS staff – part of several vaccine 'quick reaction' forces in Scotland, which can be called upon to give health boards a helping hand.

On Friday, she contributed to efforts at Stirling’s Forth Valley College vaccination centre, near where she grew up.

Major Nicholls said: "I contracted COVID March of last year, end of March last year, right at the beginning of the pandemic and certainly for me the recovery process has been a very long and a very slow one.

"Hugely disappointed to have missed out on being able to go to Afghanistan with my battalion, but it is wonderful to be here in the vaccination centres and helping to make steps forward in trying to overcome this."

Fifty-seven Army medics are currently helping immunise those most at risk in Scotland, with an additional 33 military medics being deployed.

Second Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, is currently in Afghanistan as part of Operation Toral, the UK's ongoing mission in the country.

She said: "It's really difficult. They are my group of people I look after; they are like my family.

"I would love to be out there with them.

"But it's wonderful to be here and to be able to be engaged in something and doing something to help."