Figures reveal 5,200 armed forces personnel are self-isolating and almost 55,000 still not vaccinated

Figures reveal 5,200 armed forces personnel are self-isolating and almost 55,000 still not vaccinated

5,200 armed forces and reservist personnel are absent from work because they are self-isolating, official figures uncovered by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus1 have revealed. The statistics, revealed in response to a parliamentary question2 tabled by Baroness Masham, also show that 55,000 Armed Forces personnel have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.

MPs on the cross-party group said the government is showing “shocking complacency” by failing to set out a plan to protect troops from the virus, and demanded that ministers clarify what is being done to prevent their roadmap threatening the UK’s national security. They also raised concerns that unvaccinated military personnel are being put at risk of developing long Covid, which is known to impact otherwise young and healthy people.

The latest figures3 from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) show that 9,502 armed forces personnel have tested positive for Covid as of 25 June 2021, up 346 from two weeks previously. A specialist recovery programme set up by the MoD for military personnel suffering from the impact of long Covid has so far treated almost 200 patients4.

Layla Moran MP, chair of the APPG on Coronavirus:

“The government’s failure to keep Covid cases under control is now threatening the readiness of our armed forces.

“Ministers must explain what they are doing to address the risks posed by their roadmap to our national security. Urgent action is needed before the number of servicemen required to self-isolate rises even further."

Clive Lewis MP, vice chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said: 

"Military personnel have played a critical role on the frontline of the pandemic, including assisting with the vaccine rollout.

“It is deeply worrying that so many of our armed forces remain unvaccinated, putting them at risk of getting sick and developing long Covid.

"We know that even those who are young, fit and healthy can suffer from lasting and debilitating symptoms from this illness.

"The government is showing shocking complacency by failing to set out a clear plan to protect them from the virus."




Notes to Editor

  1. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus is conducting a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic and has so far held 26 hearings and made over 50 recommendations.

  2. Please see a full copy of the parliamentary question and response below and online here.

Question: To ask Her Majesty's Government how many military personnel are (1) not yet vaccinated against COVID-19, and (2) currently having to isolate. (HL1762)

Answer: Baroness Goldie:As at 5 July 2021, 54,742 UK Armed Forces personnel had no record of having received a COVID-19 vaccination (based on those Defence Medical Services entitled personnel in service as at 1 May 2021).

As at 1 July 2021, 5,200 Regular and Reservist Armed Forces personnel were reported as absent from work because of COVID-19 self-isolation.

  1. The latest Ministry of Defence figures on positive Covid cases in the armed forces are available here.

  2. The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre has been set up to rehabilitate a number of military personnel suffering with long COVID. It was reported by Forces News on 29th June 2021 that nearly 200 personnel have completed the course.