Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Invitations to book for an NHS Covid-19 vaccine may come from "accurx.thirdparty.nhs.uk" and are legitimate

tl;dr - the NHS is using "accurx.thirdparty.nhs.uk/r/" to send out invitations to book Covid-19 vaccines and the link is genuine. At the end of that link you'll have your own 10 digit unique code (don't share that publicly).

https://accurx.thirdparty.nhs.uk/r/ - enter the 10 digit code you receive in your text message, book your vaccination - get injected and protected, not infected :) Continue to be careful afterwards as you can still get Covid-19 though it is likely to be less severe and I think you can still transmit even if you're not affected.

 

Background and evidence
I woke this morning to an SMS text invitation to book for my Covid-19 vaccination in Greenwich. Naturally my first inclination was that this was a scam and needed to be checked carefully. They had my name and phone number (probably not all that hard to get hold of) and also referenced my GP's surgery (again, probably findable or surmisable) so that alone didn't convince me. I'd also never come across the link before: accurx.thirdparty.nhs.uk - "who's that?" I wondered. The link does end with nhs.uk which is a strong indication that it's genuine (spam links usually go to some random site) but I'm still cautious until I've double-checked.

Fig 1. A redacted screenshot of my invitation to book a Covid-19 vaccination.

My first port of call was to run the basic link (accurx.thirdparty.nhs.uk, without the http bit or /r/) through a search on Twitter ('Twoogling') to see what others have said about it and it quickly became clear, both from the sort of people tweeting about it and what they said, that this was a genuine link and trustworthy. "Can't be too careful though", I said, and also had a look on Google. 

The first couple of results there are from the accuRx company themself saying "We're legit" which is not much use in itself (well, of course they'd say that)...

Fig 2. Screenshot of Google search results for the company's web address. 

 ...but a brief scroll then led to this site which is very promising. 

Fig 3. Another screenshot of Google search results for the company's web address,
this time showing an official NHS website which confirms the link's legitimacy. 

Assured appointment management solutions for Primary Care Networks – coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - Find out about appointment management solutions assured and in assurance on the Digital Care Services Framework (GPIT Futures) for use in community or primary care led services https://digital.nhs.uk/services/gp-it-futures-systems/assured-appointment-management-solutions-for-primary-care-networks-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination 

 

Fig 4. A screenshot of NHS Digital's page on approved appointment management platforms

 

Fig 5. Confirmation that accuRx is one of the
approved platforms, and giving its link - which matches

 It was also clear that lots of GPs' surgeries are using that link, so I'm definitely starting to be convinced that all is well.

 

Fig 6. Google results page also shows lots of GP surgeries referencing the same link

I also had a look at TheyWorkForYou.com which publishes official information from the Hansard Report (all discussions in Parliament etc) and found a couple of mentions there (an MP has shares) so after all that I'm going to book my vaccination. Hooray :)




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