Midlothian MP criticises UK Government over double jabs for soldiers

Owen Thompson MP has criticised the UK Government for deploying soldiers overseas in areas with a high risk of Covid19 without double doses of vaccination.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 5:00 am
Owen Thompson MP

Speaking during an urgent question to the Armed Forces Minister James Heappey, it follows reports that dozens of troops sent on a UN peacekeeping mission to Mali came back with the virus. Only 56 per cent of the UK taskforce had received a second dose of the vaccine.

Mr Thompson called for the UK Government to publish the risk assessment that was undertaken to determine our troops were not fast tracked for a vaccine before heading to work in high-risk areas.

Mr Thompson said:-

"It's an absolute disgrace that UK military personnel are being sent overseas without proper protection from Covid infections.

"This is not only unfair on the soldiers, it puts their important peacekeeping work at risk. A taskforce could be seriously weakened by an outbreak of this highly infectious virus within the close confines of an army barracks - how are troops supposed to self-isolate?

"Other countries like the US, France or Germany all make sure their soldiers have been fully vaccinated - the UK Government should do the same.

"This is Armed Forces Week when we are supposed to demonstrate our appreciation for the incredible efforts of our soldiers. They were there to assist the vaccination roll-out that keeps us all safe, and we have a duty of care to make sure they are protected too.

"Double vaccination to protect from Covid should be as crucial a part of the overseas kit as a pair of boots."