WhatsApp users warned over bogus new Covid-19 text 'causing havoc for NHS'

A MISLEADING Covid-19 vaccine message is spreading on WhatsApp and users are being warned to ignore it.

The UK Government is aiming for all adults in the country to be offered a vaccine by the end of July but while people wait patiently some are being duped by false messages about appointments.

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St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust revealed it had to turn people away from vaccine appointments after a booking link was"shared inappropriately on WhatsApp" and social media.

The message is thought to have been spread by someone who was eligible for a vaccine and wanted to widely share the booking link with others.

It reportedly states that the Trust has excess vaccines and anyone can "rock up and say you're a carer".

This is false information but some people have been making appointments via the link anyway.

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said in a Facebook post: "We are aware that a link to book appointments at Saint Helens Rugby Stadium is currently being shared inappropriately via social media and WhatsApp groups.

"Anyone who has an appointment will be required to show proof of their eligibility.

"And if they cannot do this, we will not hesitate to turn people away.

"Inappropriate appointments could lead to the most vulnerable people not being protected."

A source told the St Helens Star that the NHS Trust had to turn 10 people away in the first 30 minutes of opening earlier this week.

It's not clear who first started sharing the link but it's only thought to be for NHS workers, care home staff and social care workers.

A 'correct' vaccine message is normally sent as a text message from 'NHSvaccine'.

Action Fraud has also been stressing this due to cybercriminals sending fake messages and trying to scam people out of money.

There's also been multiple reports of false vaccine information spreading on WhatsApp.

People in the UK who've received a message about the vaccine but aren't sure if it's correct can call 119 to book an appointment.



WhatsApp – a quick history

Here’s what you need to know…

  • WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
  • It's one of the most popular messaging services in the world
  • Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like "what's up"
  • After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
  • It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
  • Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (ÂŁ14.64bn)
  • The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
  • As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally

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In other news, Instagram is working on a version of the app for children under 13.

Instagram will soon start using artificial intelligence to stop adults messaging teenagers that don't follow them.

And, Google is under fire for harvesting internet data of users browsing in Incognito Mode.

Have you spotted any scam texts recently? Let us know in the comments…

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