Coronavirus

COVID: Military A 'Turbo Boost' For Scotland's Vaccine Effort, Defence Secretary Says

More than 350 additional military personnel are being deployed around Scotland to assist with the coronavirus response.

The Defence Secretary has said the Armed Forces are giving the coronavirus effort in Scotland a "turbo boost".

A further 353 military personnel are being deployed across Scotland to assist with COVID-19 testing and vaccine delivery.

Ben Wallace told Forces News while visiting a vaccination centre in Stirling that the military’s help is part of a "complementary partnership".

"It isn't something that's gone wrong, it's simply they’re here, what can they add value [to], how can they improve the productivity, if that's what's needed," he said.

"Just a few people can help just take us to that extra high point which we need."

Fifty-seven Army medics are already helping immunise those most at risk at vaccinations centres throughout Scotland, and an additional 33 military medics will be deployed to help their efforts.

The Scottish government’s asymptomatic testing programme will be supported by 320 troops from next week.

The latest deployment brings the total number of military personnel assisting with Scotland's COVID-19 response to 466.

Major Sam Nicholls, 2 SCOTS, said personnel were "delighted" to be able to support the NHS.

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

"We've watched our colleagues in the NHS, and our military colleagues that work alongside them normally in NHS hospitals, struggling with the work volume and the ask of them for the past 12 months," she said.

"So it's wonderful to be able to come and help and do our bit to help support."

More than a million vaccines have already been given out in Scotland, with the target set at vaccinating all four-and-a-half million adults in the country by the summer.

Annie Smith, staff nurse, NHS Forth Valley, said without the support of the Armed Forces, it wouldn't be possible "to vaccinate on a mass scale".

"There's only so many nurses to do a job so if everybody else gets involved… we'll get it done on a more efficient scale so that everyone gets vaccinated effectively, quickly and safely."

The Armed Forces have helped the UK fight coronavirus throughout the pandemic, making it the biggest ever homeland military operation in peacetime.