WhatsApp users warned about fake Covid-19 vaccine message which is causing havoc

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WhatsApp users need to beware of a bogus Covid-19 vaccine message which has been causing havoc. The UK coronavirus vaccine programme is well underway with over 25million people in Britain getting their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The target is currently for all adults to be offered a coronavirus vaccine by the end of July with the NHS working through priority groups.

Once you are eligible for the coronavirus vaccine you will be contacted by the NHS – and won’t be able to receive it before then.

However, amid a huge demand for the coronavirus vaccine, there have been plenty of scams doing the rounds.

Just last week Action Fraud were warning Brits about fake NHS coronavirus emails that were being sent out, with con-artists trying to get victims to hand over money to pay for the jab.

The coronavirus vaccine is being offered by the NHS free of charge and once you’re eligible you won’t need to pay a single penny for it.

And now, following on from this spate of recent vaccine scams, WhatsApp users are being put on alert about more bogus messages.

This time around a message has been circulated on WhatsApp claiming one vaccination centre has excess vaccines and people that haven’t been invited for a vaccine can simply “rock up and say you’re a carer”.

WhatsApp explain how users can change their phone number

The WhatsApp message also included a link being used to book a vaccine at the Totally Wicked Rugby League Stadium in St Helens.

It’s believed this legitimate link was shared by someone that had been eligible for the vaccine, but was sending it across to people who weren’t.

There are two different types of vaccine booking websites – the national one and local ones. The latter one for the Merseyside and Cheshire areas was the one that was shared.

And, as the Liverpool Echo reported, as a result when the vaccine centre opened its doors one morning earlier this week 10 people who weren’t in line for the vaccine had to be turned away.

In the aftermath of this bogus WhatsApp message being circulated the St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is urging people to “do the right thing” after the official vaccine booking link was “inappropriately” shared.

A spokesperson said: “At the mass vaccination centre we do not have any excess vaccines left over at the end of the day.

“We monitor and model very closely the supply and therefore the demand and vice versa.

“Since day one we’ve never had a day were we’ve had vaccines left over. We’ve either been able to carry them over to the next day or we’ve managed to vaccine to appointment numbers, which has been absolutely fantastic.

“What’s happened in the last 24 hours is unfortunately somebody who has probably correctly received the link to the local booking line has then taken it upon themselves to share that widely and it’s become like a domino effect. It’s been on social media channels and on WhatsApp groups.”

The spokesperson went on to add: “If you’re eligible you will get vaccinated. If you’re not and you can’t prove it, you will be turned away and unfortunately we have turned people away today.

“The concern is that if you’re a healthy 35-year-old and you’re not eligible and you book an appointment, you’re taking that appointment off somebody who is eligible.

“We could have people trying to book appointments now who are in their 50s, who are now eligible and they can’t get an appointment. This is why we’re appealing to people to do the right thing.”

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