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NHS launches vaccine texts - how to tell they're genuine

Almost 400,000 people aged 55 and over and 40,000 unpaid carers will be the first to get a text alert inviting them to book a vaccine slot


Over recent months, fraudsters have tried to steal bank details with fake texts offering a Covid vaccine.


It's important, therefore, to understand which text messages are genuine and which ones aren't.


That's because, from today (Tuesday, March 9), the NHS will begin texting people inviting them to book their Covid jab.


Previously, invites were sent out through the post. The NHS is now sending text messages as well to make it quicker to book an appointment.



But given the Covid scams of late, how can you trust a text message is really from the NHS?


Well, Covid vaccinations are free - so if the text asks you to ring premium rate numbers or enter your banking details, it is a scam.


The genuine NHS text messages will include a web link for those eligible to click and reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across England.


The text message will be sent using the Government’s secure Notify service and will show as being sent from ‘NHSvaccine’.


Reminders will be sent 2-3 weeks after the original alert to encourage people to get their vaccine if they have not taken up the offer.


Letters will also be sent out in the post but texts will arrive first.


Remember, the NHS will never:

  • ask for payment or banking details

  • ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as passports, driving licence, bills or pay slips.


Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: “We know that some people are rightly worried about scams going around, but if the message comes from ‘NHSvaccine’ and links to the NHS.uk website you can be sure that it’s the right invite.


“For any messages you might get about the vaccine, always remember that the NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details, your PIN or banking password.


“The NHS will also never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine, or ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.”


The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus outside of a clinical trial when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on December 8.


The NHS was also the first health system to deliver the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine when Brian Pinker, 82, was vaccinated on January 4.

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