Warning in Sunderland over covid vaccine scam targeting vulnerable people

Vulnerable patients awaiting their Covid-19 vaccines have been told to be vigilant for potential scams.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 6:15 pm
Updated Friday, 8th January 2021, 7:09 am
A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

The rollout of jabs in Sunderland started in late 2020 with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and has stepped up this week as doctors started handing out the Oxford option.

But city health bosses have urged families waiting their turn to be wary of suspicious communications in the run up to their appointments.

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“We’ve got a call centre set up in Sunderland which is manned virtually seven days a week – I think the only day we gave them off was Christmas Day,” said David Chandler, deputy chief officer and chief financial officer at Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“They contact patients directly.

“Patients will always be contacted either by the call centre or by their practice and I would ask everyone to be aware of any scams which may be going on.

“We know there are scams going on out there and people being sent text messages, but if you’re not sure, contact your GP practice.

“The message is, the call centre will call you when it’s your time to come for a jab.”

Chandler was speaking at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, January 6, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

At least one scam message has already been highlighted by police, containing a link to a fake NHS website requesting personal details.

On January 6 it was confirmed a mass vaccination centre for the North East is to be set up in Newcastle.

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