A Lincoln school is among the several across the country to have been sent a hoax email by anti vaxxers with fake coronavirus consent letters.
Some headteachers were reportedly sent letters with a fake NHS logo that include a “consent checklist” for vaccination. They were then asked to share this with students, and this misinformation has been sent to a number of schools across England, according to Sky News.
Sir Robert Pattinson Academy in Lincoln was among the schools sent the hoax email. Headteacher Dale Hardy has since sent out another email to parents/carers apologising and telling them to ignore the original email.
This comes as around three million 12 to 15-year-olds in the UK are now eligible for their first jab after the vaccine roll-out was extended earlier this month.
An email from the Lincoln school was sent to parents/carers saying: “Around 3.25pm today (Monday), we sent you a vaccine checklist in good faith as it was purported to be from the NHS. This was an appalling hoax.
“The first message we sent to you was genuine and included a link to the consent form for COVID vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds.
“This was a reprehensible anti-vax attack on schools already under pressure at this difficult time. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
A concerned parent of a child at the school, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Lincolnite: “I think it’s disgusting that our school has been a target for a hoax campaign from the anti vaxxer movement which could result in a vulnerable child missing out on the vaccine if their scientifically invalid disinformation has caused doubts in a parent’s mind.”
Dr Jonathan Leach, NHS England medical director for COVID immunisation replied to a tweet from a concerned parent in Merseyside, who had received a similar email from her son’s school. Dr Leach said: “Just to confirm that this is not a legitimate NHS form.”
Just to confirm that this is not a legitimate NHS form.
— Dr Jonathan Leach (@jonathanleach13) September 27, 2021
Anyway on my way back home I checked my phone and it appeared I’d received another email from the school. pic.twitter.com/UN7SZ5V7nW
— Ruth Moss (@Marcie_Hatter) September 28, 2021
Anti-V**xers sending hoax emails to schools purporting to be from @NHSEnglandMedia and asking us to distribute to all parents…haven’t we got enough to worry about? It’s pretty clear, if you don’t want your child to have the vaccine, fine. The rest has got nothing to do with you pic.twitter.com/dKQRFYX3y3
— Andy Byers (@Framheadteacher) September 27, 2021
The Lincolnite contacted Sir Robert Pattinson Academy and headteacher Dale Hardy said: “The school received a genuine communication from the NHS followed by, what appeared to be, a follow up letter.
“It seemed to be genuine and we had no reason to doubt it so it was forwarded in good faith to parents.
“Very quickly it became clear the letter was a hoax and we informed parents immediately through several channels.
“It is worrying that hoax emails can be so convincing but I am confident the situation has been remedied swiftly and parents have been kept fully informed.”