- Bulk text system being dismissed by some as scam
- Leading to no-shows at vaccine clinics
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the HSE to urgently review its text alert system for Covid-19 vaccination appointments.
People have reported missing their scheduled time as they believe the text informing them of their appointment to be a scam, due to the nature of how it is issued.
“The text messages people are receiving are very casual,” said Deputy Crowe.
“They begin with ‘reply yes or no’ and in this day and age people are quite savvy to scams and phishing texts and this has been well flagged in the media, on Crimeline on RTÉ and so on.
“At any given time, there are quite a number of text scams circulating in the country and for this reason, a lot of people I believe have been put off from replying to the text and therefore have lost out on their vaccination appointment.
“One lady contacted me on Facebook after I highlighted this to say she didn’t reply to the text but nonetheless, presented herself for the vaccine at the Radisson Hotel at her scheduled time but couldn’t be vaccinated by staff because she hadn’t replied to the text – others have dismissed it completely and not attended at all.
“So the text is leading to mass confusion and in think this may, in some small way, account for the number of no-shows at the vaccination centres.
“I have been conducting my own investigation into how this is arising and it appears to me that the HSE has contracted a bulk text company to issue their messaging.
“This same company obviously has a number of other contracts, including a local auctioneering company so, for example, people who previously availed of services from this auctioneer and got a text from them are also getting texts from the same mobile number from the HSE, leading to people not trusting the legitimacy of the message.
“I’ve asked the HSE vaccination coordinating team to urgently look at devising a more formalised message or a better mechanism for announcing the schedule of vaccinations.
“I think better communication is badly needed if we are to ensure everybody gets their vaccine at the appropriate time.”