Several schools in England have unwittingly spread a hoax message about Covid vaccinations for children which the Department of Health and Social Affairs has condemned as “dangerous” disinformation.
Schools in East Anglia, Bedfordshire and elsewhere in England were tricked into sending in an official appearance form bearing an NHS logo and claiming to be a ‘consent checklist’ before their child was given an inoculation of Covid.
A school principal said the form arrived Monday morning as an attachment to an email purported to be from the NHS, with a request to be passed on to parents. We don’t know where the email came from.
The emails were sent by a âchildhood vaccine teamâ using an email address ending in @ nhs-vaccines.uk. The domain linked to the address was then suspended after complaints to the host.
A DHSC spokesperson said: âMisinformation about the vaccine is dangerous and costs lives. We continue to do all we can, working with local authorities and our NHS, to counter the spread of untruths with public information based on science and fact. “
Schools that submitted the hoax form quickly removed the email after being alerted by parents and staff.
Redborne Higher School and Community College in Bedfordshire have apologized to parents for any confusion after they cracked the hoax letter.
“This is not from the NHS and it is believed to be a group wishing to disrupt the vaccination program,” they told parents in a letter from the director.
Brian Conway, managing director of the St John the Baptist multi-academy trust in Norwich, said the form appeared to be “very convincing” after being sent to parents at one of the trust’s schools.
“It’s pretty shocking that you have people sending stuff to schools that is a hoax and trying to get a message out under false pretenses,” Conway told the Eastern Daily Press.
Dr Jonathan Leach, NHS England medical director for Covid vaccinations, took to social media to assure parents the form was fake.
Julie McCulloch of the Association of School and College Leaders said: âThe circulation of fake consent forms is extremely unnecessary and can only serve to confuse people.
âEveryone in the school system is already working under tremendous pressure on several fronts. One of those pressures is the fact that large numbers of students have caught Covid and are absent from school – the very thing that the vaccination program is designed against. “
The UK’s chief medical officers have recommended that children aged 12 and over be offered a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Children in England have already started receiving the vaccine through the NHS school-age vaccination teams.