A UNIVERSITY of Essex study has revealed that NHS texts may have put Brits off receiving their Covid vaccine.

The study highlighted that the lack of information about the vaccines, as well as third-party hyperlinks within the mass messages, made recipients think that they had been targeted by scammers. The hyperlink included “accurx.thirdparty” – which is believed to have sparked suspicion.

It was found that 50.1 per cent believed the link to be trustworthy, only 26 per cent of people believed clicking on the link would lead to an NHS page and only 35 per cent used the link to book an appointment.

The study comes after media regulator Ofcom found that 45 million people were targeted by scam calls and texts last Summer.

Behavioural psychologist Dr Marie Juanchich organised the study in association with the British Academy, in a bid to encourage more people to receive the life-saving injection.

Dr Juanchich worked with Hazel Sayer and Claire Oakley over the course of three studies, in which they manipulated who sent the text and what information was included.

16 messages were sent to more than 6,400 people who judged them on trustworthiness.

She said: “Our work could be used to increase appointment booking for vaccination, but also for cancer screening or recommended annual health checks. It will be especially useful to encourage people who lack trust in the healthcare system.”