More and more people are being invited to get their COVID-19 jabs, but are you clear on how you’ll be told it’s your turn? Here’s what you should look out for.
We’ve covered concerning reports of vaccine scams recently, which show it’s vital that you’re able to tell if your invitation is genuine.
Most people will be contacted by a local NHS service, while some frontline workers, including hospital staff and carers, might get their invite through their employers.
The NHS said it would send patients invitations by post, but we’ve heard from many of you that you’ve also received calls, texts and emails instead, and some people have been concerned about whether they’re genuine.
89-year-old Lily in West Sussex told us that different members of her family, some living in the same area, have all received different forms of communication.
She received a phone call inviting her for the first jab, while her 70-year-old daughter received a text message:
You can tell that this is a genuine invitation as it places the onus of communication on your usual method of contact with your local GP. There are no links to dubious websites requesting sensitive information, simply the instruction to contact your local surgery as you would normally do.
Meanwhile, her grandson has been told to expect a letter in the post confirming his appointment.
How you’ll find out when it’s your turn
Contact regarding the vaccine will depend on where in the UK you live.
NHS England confirmed that it’s using various ways to contact patients in England about their vaccines, including letters, phone calls, emails, texts, and outpatient appointments. This is to speed up the vaccination drive.
It said patients may be contacted by their GP surgery, local NHS Trust or a local pharmacy. If you’re a frontline key worker, you might even receive your invite through your employer.
In Wales, patients can expect the same methods of communication as people in England.
NHS Scotland has said that people aged 70-79 can expect to receive letters in several health boards.
In Northern Ireland, patients will be contacted by phone or by a branded NHS letter. Again, frontline workers might hear about their jabs through their employers.
How to spot and avoid vaccine scams
Remember, COVID-19 vaccinations are free, with no exceptions.
The biggest telltale sign of a scam is if you’re being asked to pay for a vaccine, or hand over payment details or ID documents.
The NHS is offering vaccines for free to all UK residents, with no exceptions. Vaccines are not currently available privately.
Anyone asking you for payment for any coronavirus-related NHS service should be treated with suspicion. If they’re calling you, refuse their offer and put the phone down.
Three things to remember to stay safe from NHS vaccine scams:
💉 The NHS will never ask you for payment, or for your payment details
💉 Nobody from the NHS will ever turn up at your door unexpectedly to give you a vaccine
💉 You’ll never be asked to send copies or originals of any ID documents in advance of your vaccination appointment. For example, passport, driving licence, bank statements or National Insurance Number
Ignore emails, calls and messages that seem suspicious, and report them.
If you think you might have given away sensitive information or lost money to a scam, report it to Action Fraud. You can report using its online form or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Fake government or NHS emails can be forwarded to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which is working with the police to tackle online fraud. You can forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, and text messages to 7726.
Have you been contacted about the vaccine yet? And have you received any suspicious communication?