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Fact Check-Hoax COVID-19 vaccine consent checklist sent to schools in England

A fake NHS letter sent to schools in England duped some staff into thinking it was a legitimate consent form to be signed by parents and clinicians before children received their COVID-19 shots.

The letter, which is also being shared on social media, is headed with the NHS logo and includes a 10-point checklist detailing alleged facts about COVID-19 vaccines. It says these facts must be understood before “informed consent” to vaccination can be given.

Multiple parents said online they received the checklists from schools, with one writing on Twitter that it seemed “kinda like it’s designed to put kids off” (here , here and here).

The letter and checklist, however, is a fake and has nothing to do with the NHS.

“Misinformation about the vaccine is dangerous and costs lives,” a Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson told Reuters via email.

“We are continuing to do everything we can, working with local authorities and our NHS, to counter the spread of untruths with public information that is grounded in science and facts.

Dr Jonathan Leach, the NHS England medical director for COVID-19 vaccination, also addressed the claim on Twitter, writing: "Just to confirm that this is not a legitimate NHS form." (here)

Moreover, the checklist itself contains misinformation.

For instance, one of the points on the checklist reads: “Although alternative treatments are available, the COVID-19 vaccines have been granted Emergency Use Authorisation, so required less comprehensive clinical data”.

It is not true to suggest “less comprehensive clinical data” was necessary to start rolling out the vaccine. As addressed by Reuters here , here and here , authorised vaccines have been subject to usual clinical and safety standards for new medicinal products.

The suggestion in checkpoint four that 1,645 deaths are linked to vaccination is also misleading. This number refers to reports made to the UK’s Yellow Card Scheme, which logs suspected adverse drug reactions (here).

As of Sept. 15, there have been 1,662 reports of suspected adverse reactions to COVID-19 shots in which the person died shortly after vaccination (here). However, British health authorities have made clear this is not a confirmed link between vaccination and death.

“Usage of the vaccines has increased over the course of the campaigns and as such, so has reporting of fatal events with a temporal association with vaccination; however, this does not indicate a link between vaccination and the fatalities reported,” said the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in its weekly report.

“Review of individual reports and patterns of reporting does not suggest the vaccines played a role in these deaths.”

The fake NHS checklist also suggests infertility could be a long-term side effect of COVID-19 vaccines. This misinformation has been repeatedly addressed by Reuters (here and here).

Reuters has addressed the steps for a child to consent to vaccination here .

This is not the first time that fake documents using the NHS logo have circulated during the pandemic. Reuters Fact Check recently wrote about a similar example here .

VERDICT

False. The NHS vaccine consent checklist is a hoax and includes varying degrees of misinformation.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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