Dr Arun Mandepanda Thimmiah, a GP at the Abbey Road Surgery in Barrow, gives advice on health issues in his weekly column. This week, he addresses concerns people may have over whether their invite to receive a Covid-19 vaccine jab is genuine.

Unfortunately some people are using the Covid-19 vaccination programme in order to commit fraud.

The types of scams vary – some are trying to extract money, others are collecting personal information – so it’s really important to make sure you’re speaking to the right people.

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines are only made available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or a pharmacy local to you to receive your vaccine.


Remember, the vaccine is free of charge.

At no point will you be asked to pay.

n The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.

n The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.

n The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.

n The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

n Occasionally your local vaccine centre may ring you from a list provided by your GP surgery if you are in the group being invited to receive the vaccine at the end of the session in order to avoid wastage of vaccines.

If you have any doubts as to the caller’s authenticity, ask which organisation they are calling from, then hang up the phone and dial the official number for that organisation.

You will not miss out on your vaccine by doing so.


Please be aware that fraudsters do ‘spoof’ numbers – the number you see on your screen may not be the number that is calling you – and NHS call handlers will NOT ask you to check the number that appears on your screen; this is a common way for fraudsters to appear as legitimate callers.

Most people should wait to be contacted by the NHS with a vaccine invitation.

If any of the following apply, you do not need to wait to be contacted to book your vaccine:

n You are aged 70 or over.

n You have previously received a letter saying you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable).

n You are a frontline health or social care worker.

More information is available at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/how-you-will-be-contacted/