The National Booking Service has begun carefully trialling a text message service for Covid-19 vaccination invitations and reminders, in addition to the letters that are currently sent to eligible people. Over 400,000 people aged 55 or in receipt of Carer’s Allowance were the first to receive text message invites from Tuesday 9 March..
The text message will be sent using the Government’s secure Notify service. They will appear as being sent from NHSvaccine. The initial invite message will read:
NHS – You are now eligible for your free NHS coronavirus vaccination. Please book online at https://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119. You will need to provide your name, date of birth and postcode. Your phone number has been obtained from your GP records.
In common with the letter invites, the text messages will invite people to book online at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119, for an appointment at a local Vaccination Centre or pharmacy-led site.
Letters will continue to be sent to all eligible individuals in parallel, as the NHS does not hold telephone details for all eligible individuals, and for some people a text message may not be the best way to communicate, including those who need letters in different languages or formats.
If someone does not respond to the initial text message and letter invite after 2-3 weeks, and no vaccination record is made by another service, the NHS will send a further message and letter. The message will read:
NHS – Reminder: please book your free coronavirus vaccination online at https://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119. Protect yourself and others.