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Coronavirus / NHS chief and MSP warn against vaccine email scams

People travelling to mass vaccination clinics will also be eligible for free public transport

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson has warned the community against coronavirus vaccination email scams which are doing the rounds.

He said there are emails circulating claiming to be from the NHS saying the recipient has been selected for a vaccination.

Dickson added that some say the NHS is “performing selections for coronavirus vaccinations on the basis of family genetics and medical history”.

The health chief said these are scams, adding: “We will never ask for payment or information such as your card details or PIN number.”

Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has also warned against the scam emails after being targeted himself.

“The vaccination programme has offered real hope to so many people and it is sickening that there are people out there willing to exploit this for financial gain,” he said.

“Having received an email myself, I realised straight away that it was a scam and should be reported, but many might not as the scam emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their initial appearance.”

Anyone attending mass vaccination centres in Shetland in the coming weeks, meanwhile, will be able to travel free on public buses and inter-island ferries.

On Monday (1 February) the first of three clinics will open at the Independent Living Centre, at Gremista, as the vaccination programme widens its eligibility.

A further two will open at the Gilbertson Park games hall and the Scalloway games hall by the start of March.

The free travel on public transport to the centres will also be extended to any accompanying escorts, and travel on inter-island ferries will also include free passage for any cars.

Travellers should state their journey purpose to the bus driver or ferry crew.

If taking a car, travellers should book ferries in advance where possible.

If an appointment is at short notice and the booking cannot be made by the normal deadlines then travel will not be denied if space is available on the ferry.

A free return shuttle bus will also operate from the Viking Bus Station to the vaccination centre at the Independent Living Centre.

The first bus will depart the Viking Bus Station at 12.50pm on Monday and depart every 30 minutes thereafter, at ten minutes to and twenty minutes past each hour, with the last departure at 4.20pm.

From Tuesday onwards, buses will depart the Viking Bus Station at 9.50am and every 30 minutes thereafter, with the last departure at 3.20pm.

Passengers on this shuttle bus will need to wear a face covering and use socially distanced seating.

The bus will be cleaned between journeys.

Shetland Islands Council said these arrangements will continue as long as the vaccination programme is in place, subject to any changes that may be required.