Warning issued over fake NHS COVID-19 vaccination messages targeting vulnerable public

People are being warned about scam Covid-19 vaccine texts.

Cumbria Trading Standards issued a warning on their social media pages, urging residents to be wary of the bogus texts saying they are eligible to apply for the coronavirus vaccine.

The fraudulent message asks you to follow a link which leads to a fake NHS site asking for personal details.

The North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust shared the post, stating, "The NHS will never ask for bank details and they will not ask for your personal details."

In some cases, people are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details. 

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute said, "This is the latest in a series of scams themed around the pandemic in circulation since last March. With the UK vaccine rollout underway, scammers have modified their scam to consider this new development."

The phoney messages were first reported at the end of December by people living on the Western Isles of Scotland. The NHS on the Isles has since issued a warning to the public that "Health Boards will never ask for any details about your bank account."

Do not provide any information to the scammers, but please also report suspicious messages to Action Fraud, or if in Scotland, Police Scotland, as this provides intelligence and assists authorities in combating scams.

Katherine Hart, Lead Officer at CTSI

The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is being rolled out Credit: PA

On Thursday 7 January, GP surgeries began administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine across England. The move marks a considerable step forward in the drive to mass vaccinate the population after the daily reported death toll topped 1,000.

An NHS statement read:The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to the public over 80 years old.