Hoax Government anti-vaccination leaflets discouraging people from getting the Covid vaccine were planted in a GP practice waiting room in Reading.
The leaflets, designed to look like official Public Health England guidance, were discovered on Friday at Balmore Park Surgery.
The pamphlets misrepresent a statement made by the Government in June about rare occurrences of blood clots in patients after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
A message on the practice’s Facebook page posted on 10 September said: ‘If you have picked up a leaflet from our waiting room which appears to be from Public Health England, please discard it.
‘It is propaganda from the anti vaccine campaign and not in any way endorsed by anyone at the surgery. All remaining leaflets have been removed.’
An NHS Berkshire West CCG spokesperson told Pulse: ‘We are extremely disappointed to see this sort of irresponsible behaviour which can only cause alarm and distress to patients visiting our surgeries.
‘These are fake documents made to look like official NHS literature. We are currently reviewing all surgery waiting areas to check they have not been distributed elsewhere.
‘We would encourage anyone wanting trusted, up to date and reliable messages around Covid and the vaccinations to go to the NHS website. This will reassure them about the safety of the vaccine and the importance of getting vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and friends.’
It comes as a Pulse survey found that nearly three quarters of GPs are experiencing increased levels of patient abuse compared with before the pandemic.
In July, the vaccines minister Nadim Zahawi promised to ‘look at anything we can do’ to protect staff at NHS Covid vaccination centres against ‘abhorrent’ abuse.
GPs received abuse from patients anxious to receive Covid-19 vaccine earlier this year.
A GP vaccination centre in Leeds was also vandalised with anti-vaccine graffiti messages.
The latest Public Health England estimates suggest that 230,800 hospitalisations have been prevented in those aged 45 years and over in England as a result of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, up to 5 September.
And approximately 46,500 admissions were prevented in those aged 65 to 74, 73,800 in those aged 75 to 84, and 58,600 in those aged 85 and over, according to the analysis.
Click to complete relevant Covid-19 CPD modules on Pulse Learning.
This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.