Steve January 12, 2021
you-don’t-need-your-nhs-number-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine

12 January 2021

What was claimed

Make sure you and your family all dig out your NHS number and have a copy of it immediately to hand for the Covid jab. NHS staff on the front line say this is the biggest bottleneck when it comes to administering the vaccine to as many people as quickly as possible.

Our verdict

You do not need to have your NHS number with you in order to receive the vaccine. A name and date of birth is all that is required, although some trusts have asked patients to bring their NHS numbers if possible.

Widely shared posts on Facebook claim to be from “NHS staff”, and ask people to ensure they take their NHS number with them when they receive the Covid-19 vaccine to avoid delays. An NHS number is not required when receiving the vaccine and there is no national NHS policy to insist upon one. Some NHS trusts have asked people to bring their NHS number if possible to avoid delays. 

The posts say: “A plea from NHS staff. Please please please make sure you and your family all dig out your NHS number and have a copy of it it [sic] immediately to hand for when you or they are called for the COVID jab. From my colleagues on the front line this is far and away the biggest bottle neck when it comes to administering the vaccine to as many people as quickly as possible. You can find your NHS number on any NHS correspondence or through the app. It would also be really helpful if you can share this message with everyone you know. Thank you.”

NHS England confirmed to Full Fact that an NHS number is not required when receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and there is no national policy that NHS numbers should be provided. Patients only have to supply their name and date of birth to receive the vaccine.

Some NHS trusts have said it may be helpful to bring an NHS number to avoid delay when receiving the vaccine. NHS England confirmed that not having an NHS number with you when arriving for your vaccine appointment was unlikely to slow the process down or cause a “bottleneck”, as the post suggests, but said some trusts may request patients bring it for ease.

When booking a Covid-19 vaccine online, patients are asked for their NHS number. However, if you do not know your NHS number you can still book an appointment. 

An NHS number is a unique, 10 digit number that helps healthcare professionals and providers identify patients and keep track of their health records. You should receive one if you are registered for NHS care. People who receive a letter inviting them for a coronavirus vaccination will find their NHS number included in the letter. If you are receiving the vaccine in England, you should also be registered to a GP in England—meaning you should have an NHS number. 

The NHS website says: “You do not need to know your NHS number, or have an NHS number, to receive care.”

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here.

For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context
because you do not need to have an NHS number with you to get the Covid-19 vaccine but some trusts are asking for it if possible.

Can you chip in to help us do more?

You’ve probably seen a surge in misleading and unsubstantiated medical advice since the Covid-19 outbreak. If followed, it can put lives at serious risk. We need your help to protect us all from false and harmful information.

We’ve seen people claiming to be health professionals, family members, and even the government – offering dangerous tips like drinking warm water or gargling to prevent infection. Neither of these will work.

The longer claims like these go unchecked, the more they are repeated and believed. It can put people’s health at serious risk, when our services are already under pressure.

Today, you have the opportunity to help save lives. Good information about Covid-19 could be the difference between someone taking the right precautions to protect themselves and their families, or not. Could you help protect us all from false and harmful information today?

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