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The NHS has started to use text messages to invite patients for their Covid-19 vaccines

The NHS has begun texting people to invite them to book a Covid-19 vaccine.

Almost 400,000 people aged over 55 and 40,000 unpaid carers will be the first to get a text alert inviting them to book a slot.

The text service launched today to speed up the booking process.

Dennis Wright gets his Covid-19 vaccination. Photo: Alan Walters
Dennis Wright gets his Covid-19 vaccination. Photo: Alan Walters

Patients will receive a web link to click and reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across England.

Reminders will be sent up to three weeks after the original alert to encourage people to get their vaccine if they have not taken up the offer.

The text messages will arrive in advance of the standard letter.

NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Thanks to careful planning and the huge efforts of NHS staff we have vaccinated more than 18 million people in England, which is a remarkable achievement.

“The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, continues to go from strength to strength and we are now building on that momentum by trialling a quick and easy service that will hopefully make it more convenient for people to book their life saving jab.”

Some GP-led and hospital vaccination services, which operate their own booking systems, are already using texts for invites.

Patients are reminded to be aware of potential scammers who try to collect personal details from people, get them to ring premium rate numbers or enter their bank details.

The legitimate text messages will be sent using the Government’s secure Notify service and will show as being sent from NHSvaccine.

The NHS will never ask for payment or bank details.

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