MORE than 200 Armed Forces personnel have been made available to support the coronavirus vaccine booster programme in Wales this month.

Meanwhile, soldiers and officers from The Royal Welsh will spend Christmas Day deployed to Estonia

Welsh sailors, marines, soldiers and aviators will be serving with the UK Armed Forces at home and around the globe to protect the UK this Christmas.

227 Armed Forces personnel have been made available to support the Department of Health and the Welsh Government with the record-breaking coronavirus vaccine booster programme.

They’re working alongside NHS Wales staff and volunteers to administer vaccines and provide planning expertise to civilian authorities. This includes qualified healthcare professionals serving in the Armed Forces, as well as general duties personnel.

The Armed Forces personnel supporting the booster programme in Wales include sailors, soldiers and aviators from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. The UK Armed Forces have supported communities across Wales during the pandemic, including with coronavirus testing and PPE delivery.

129 Ministry of Defence personnel continue to support the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust as ambulance drivers.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This year our Armed Forces have once again served with distinction and duty from evacuating over 15,000 vulnerable people from Afghanistan to navigating the Carrier Strike Group deployment and supporting the roll out of booster jabs.

“Over the festive period our Armed Forces will continue working to keep us safe with thousands deployed on operations overseas or in the UK helping to get vaccines into arms as they continue to support the UK’s response to the pandemic. Thank you to the Armed Forces community for all you do and a very Merry Christmas.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:

“I want to thank all Armed Forces personnel who have continued to provide vital assistance during the ongoing pandemic response in Wales, including supporting the record-breaking vaccine roll out, ambulance driving and delivering PPE and testing.

“This festive period, we are especially grateful to those deployed who are spending this time keeping Wales and the UK safe both at home and abroad. I wish them and their families a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.”

Soldiers and officers from The Royal Welsh are currently deployed to Estonia, where the UK Armed Forces are supporting NATO to protect our allies from foreign aggression. The UK leads a multinational battlegroup in Estonia and helps train local service personnel for combat.

The Royal Welsh is Wales’ oldest and most-decorated British Army regiment. Its history stretches back 330 years and includes nearly every major campaign the Army has participated in.

After spending the autumn on exercises with the French navy and supporting the Armed Forces in Gibraltar, Royal Navy ship HMS Dragon has returned to UK waters and will be on duty at very high readiness to protect the UK at sea. The ship is emblazoned with a fiery red Welsh dragon and is affiliated to the city of Cardiff.

6,100 members of UK Armed Forces personnel are working across the globe on 22 operations in 30 countries, to keep the UK safe and support our partners and allies.