A council in one of Scotland’s Covid hotspots has apologised after parents were sent a fake NHS letter with anti-vax propaganda as the rollout to jab kids gets under way.
A form, bearing the NHS logo, was circulated among pupils at Clydebank High School, West Dunbartonshire, earlier this week.
The checklist contained myths about the Covid-19 vaccine, including the claim that jabs were “experimental” and that “under-30s may be more likely to die from taking a Covid-19 vaccine than from dying with Covid”.
A follow-up email was sent 40 minutes after the bogus “consent form”, which said that the school had fallen prey to a scam, which is believed to have originated in England.
The MSP for Clydebank, Marie McNair, described it as “distressing” and called for measures to be implemented to avoid it happening again.
Outraged parents took to social media to complain that the email contained alarming false information.
One parent said: “I do not understand how an establishment responsible for education and the safety of children has been able to send out an anti-Covid 19 vaccination rhetoric.
“Surely they proofread information before sending to hundreds of parents?
“Even though they followed up with an email asking people to ignore the information, the damage has been done and they have probably fuelled seeds of doubt in parents and young people.”
Another parent added: “It was definitely very convincing.
“I was just about to email the school back and tell them my two have already had their vaccines so I didn’t need to fill the form in.
“It should have been checked first before being sent out.
“I dread to think how many parents have filled it in or clicked on one of the links.”
A spokesperson from West Dunbartonshire Council said: “Clydebank High School received a request to distribute an email to families pertaining to be from the NHS.
“As soon as the school became aware it was not a genuine NHS communication, parents and carers were immediately advised.
“We are sorry for any concern this has caused and we would like to thank the parents who contacted the school directly to inform us of this misinformation.”
West Dunbartonshire remains one of the areas with the highest Covid-19 infection rates and five people died from coronavirus last week.
The Scottish Government recently announced that appointment letters inviting 12 and 15-year-olds for a vaccine would be sent out this week.
Clydebank MSP Marie McNair said: “I am extremely concerned to find out that this email and documentation has been sent out to parents and carers.
“We must ensure that parents get accurate and helpful information about this important issue and clearly this is an attempt to undermine that.
“It is extremely disappointing and I thank the parents who brought this to the attention of the school.
“I have been assured that this email was sent out in error and Clydebank High School has issued a very genuine apology.
“I have written to the council’s chief executive and I expect measures to be introduced to avoid anything like this happening again.”
The hoax consent form is thought to have originated in England.
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