The NHS has warned against a new Covid-19 vaccination scam - what to look out for

The scam poses as an invite to receive a Covid-19 vaccination (Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The NHS has issued a warning to the public, raising awareness of a Covid-19 scam.

The scam features an email posing as a fake invitation to be vaccinated, and includes a link to a website to “register” for the vaccine. However, legitimate vaccine emails require no such registration.

The fake website also asks for bank details, either to verify identification or to make a payment.

The official NHS Twitter account released a tweet addressing the scam, writing: “The Covid-19 vaccine is free of charge on the NHS.”

It said that the NHS would never ask for:

  • Your bank account or card details
  • Your pin or banking password
  • Copies of personal documents to prove your identity, such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips

The tweet added a picture of a Covid-19 vaccine “fact check” sheet.

It said:

  • You don’t need to apply for the vaccine
  • You don’t have to pay to receive it
  • You don’t need to share bank details to confirm your identity

Cyber-security consultant Daniel Card told the BBC that traffic data indicates that thousands of people had clicked the link, sending them to the fake site.

He urged members of the public to remain vigilant against these scams, adding: “These things spring up, we take them down and then they spring up again.”

‘The vaccine will always be free on the NHS’

Throughout the whole pandemic, Covid-19 related scams have skyrocketed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic.

“It is vital that we do not let a small number of unscrupulous fraudsters undermine the huge team effort underway across the country to protect millions of people from this terrible disease.”

According to NHS England, a number of people are currently serving prison sentences for Covid-19 scams from over the last year.

Medical Director for Primary Care for NHS England, GP Nikki Kanani, said: “Remember, the vaccine will always be free on the NHS. Our staff will never ask for, or accept, cash for vaccines, never ask you for your banking details or identity documents, and will never come around to your house unannounced.”

How you will be contacted for your Covid-19 vaccination

The NHS website states that the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccine is being administered at locations like large vaccination centres, pharmacies and even some local NHS services, such as hospitals and GP surgeries.

When you’re invited for a vaccine at a larger vaccination centre, or at a pharmacy, you’ll receive a letter.

If, alternatively, you’re invited to receive the vaccine at a local centre, such as a hospital or GP surgery, you’ll usually get a text or email - but you may also sometimes get a letter.

You can opt to go to a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy, or you can wait to be invited to a local NHS service.

If you have received your invite but have not yet booked an appointment, you might get a phone call from the NHS Immunisation Management Service - this will be your reminder to book your appointment.

The person you speak to will see if you need any help or support, but they will not call to book appointments over the phone.

How to report a scam email

Both the National Cyber Security Centre and Action Fraud have asked anyone who has received a scam email, or text, to report it.

You can report a scam email by forwarding it to the Suspicious Email Report Service (SERS) at [email protected]

You can also forward any suspicious text messages to 7726.