Military personnel supported public services across the UK to assist with the response to COVID-19.
COVID Support Force
All military personnel supporting the response to the pandemic across the UK have now been stood down.
Since 18 March 2020, the MOD has responded to over 440 COVID-19 Military Aid to the Civil Authority (MACA) requests.
Approximately 34,000 servicemen and women were deployed to support the UK pandemic response over the course of just over two years.
The Armed Forces played an important role in supporting efforts to vaccinate people across the UK.
During the first phases of the vaccine rollout in early 2021, around 1,300 personnel deployed as vaccinators, including 200 in Scotland and 190 in Wales. Defence medics deployed to Northern Ireland to support the vaccine rollout and the MOD also helped to deliver thousands of vaccine doses to overseas territories including Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, as well as supporting the vaccine programme in England.
In late 2021, servicemen and women again deployed in numbers across the UK to support the booster campaign amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. More than 1,100 were made available to assist with administering jabs across England, Scotland and Wales.
Support to hospitals
In early 2021, hundreds of defence medics deployed to hospitals across the UK to help relieve pressure on health services including 115 personnel who deployed to Northern Ireland to support hospitals in Belfast. The defence medics joined the 1,600 personnel embedded within the NHS on a long-term basis.
Hundreds of defence medics and general duties personnel again deployed to Covid hotspots across the UK during the third wave of infections on late 2021 and early 2022, including 200 in London and over 100 in Scottish hospitals in NHS Ayrshire & Arran, NHS Grampian and NHS Lanarkshire.
Military medics assisted NHS staff with patient care, while general duty personnel supported with tasks such as maintaining stocks, checking in patients on arrival and conducting basic checks.
Assisting with the National Testing Effort
The Armed Forces have supported the UK’s COVID-19 testing efforts including programmes in Birmingham, Nottingham, Merthyr Tydfil, Liverpool, Kent, Manchester and Scotland to help identify and break chains of transmission. Around 5,300 personnel deployed in support of this task between April and August 2020.
At the start of the pandemic in the UK, around 500 personnel worked to distribute COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS trusts and organisations across the country.
Approximately 950 servicemen and women also helped to construct the Nightingale Hospitals.
Military personnel assisted ambulance trusts during their time of need, as the pandemic created unprecedented pressure on the NHS.
The servicemen and women, who received thorough training, augmented ambulance trusts across the UK with additional drivers to ensure they could continue to provide their essential services, including attending life-threatening calls.
More than 300 supported English and Welsh ambulance services respectively between late 2021 and early 2022, while more than 200 assisted ambulance services in Scotland during the same period.