Since January, British Army soldiers have been helping to establish 80 new COVID-19 vaccine centres across Scotland.

 With 98 soldiers working across 11 Vaccination Centre Setup Teams covering the length and breadth of Scotland, personnel from the Royal Army Medical Corps and Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have been using their logistical expertise to establish the centres, before handing them over to NHS Scotland to deliver the vaccination programme.

 Their work has included organising car parking and traffic flow systems, establishing patient recording methods and practices, facilitating vaccine delivery to the sites and preparing storage for medicines and equipment.

 Meanwhile, a further 81 medical staff have been deployed to help administer jabs across health boards, forming a Vaccine Quick Reaction Force which will see five teams of 10 able to be sent across Scotland at short notice to assist NHS staff in delivering the vaccine.

 It is all part of the largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken by the UK Armed Forces. UK military support to the Scottish authorities is commanded and controlled by the Joint Military Command staff of 20 personnel in Stirling. This team is directing the troops as they deploy from Leuchars to set up the vaccine centres across Scotland – from Wick to Wigtown, as required.

 There are a further 32 UK military planners working in support of the Scottish Government team in St Andrews House, Edinburgh, and across Scotland’s 14 health boards.

 Military support to the Scottish authorities during the pandemic has included RAF medical aero-evacuations from Shetland, Orkney and Arran in support of the Scottish Ambulance Service; planning advice in the setting up of the NHS Louisa Jordan facility in Glasgow; and staffing all mobile COVID-19 testing units across Scotland for much of summer 2020.

Across the UK a record 5,300 personnel are committed to winter and COVID-19 operations, supporting 56 different tasks in the UK and abroad, from the vaccine rollout and NHS support to community testing across the UK.