Sunderland parents and pupils warned over bogus Covid vaccine forms “clearly designed to cause fear and alarm”
Pupils and parents are being warned about bogus Covid vaccination forms after families at Sandhill View Academy were sent fake forms which claimed to be from the NHS.
Authorities are concerned the bogus forms are part of a national operation which have also been sent to other schools across the city. They believe the aim is to misinform parents and children about potential side-effects to deter pupils from getting their jabs.
The family member of pupil at the school who contacted the Sunderland Echo but asked to remain anonymous said: “He came home from school and was really panicked about having the vaccine. After reading what it said he was adamant that he didn’t want it.”
Misinformation on the form included referring to the vaccine as still being “considered experimental” and incorrect claims about the death rate from the vaccine potentially being “ten times higher” than figures officially quoted.
The form also referred to side-effects some of which are not officially listed on the NHS website.
The family member added: “The school subsequently sent out a message saying the form was from an artificial source and was a fake. It’s so malicious for people to do this as it’s obviously meant to scare children from getting the vaccine.
"I’ve since shown him information on the NHS website and he’s now reassured but I’m sure there will now be a lot of children worried about getting the vaccine.”
The school also condemned those responsible for the hoax which appeared to have been sent from an NHS email.
A statement from the school said: “Last week schools in England received communication from an NHS email address and under the NHS logo, requesting distribution of pre-vaccination consent forms to be signed by parents and clinicians.
"The communication also included a 10-point checklist detailing alleged facts about Covid vaccines.
“The forms were sent as requested. Staff were quickly alerted to the fact this was a malicious communication and informed parents and carers immediately.
“Like all front-line workers, we have taken exceptional measures to keep our children and families safe throughout the pandemic and it’s extremely disappointing that pressure groups would use such subversive tactics to further their own cause.
"The decision to vaccinate is for parents and carers to make under the guidance and advice of their own healthcare professional.”
Sunderland City Council’s director of Public Health, Gerry Taylor, has also warned parents to be vigilant.
She said: “We're aware a number of fake consent forms appear to have been sent to schools across the country with the aim of undermining public confidence in the vaccine.
"This kind of misinformation is dangerous and clearly designed to cause fear and alarm. We would urge any parents who receive one of these bogus forms to ignore its contents. Schools have been advised to only use consent forms provided directly by their school vaccination service.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman added: “Misinformation about the vaccine is dangerous and costs lives. We are continuing to do everything we can, working with Local Authorities and our NHS to counter the spread of untruths with public information that’s grounded in science and facts.”
Families with concerns about the reliability of information are advised to check the NHS website and Government guidance on the vaccination of young people.