The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation (JCVI) has today recommended that everyone on the GP Learning Disabilities Register should be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine under priority group 6.
Responding to the announcement, Kirsty Matthews, CEO of Hft said:
“It is great news that the new recommendations will mean more people with learning disabilities are prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Over the past year, the longstanding health inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities have been brought into sharp relief by the pandemic. This has all contributed to the sobering fact that people with learning disabilities are up to six times more likely to die from Covid-19. We hope that today’s announcement with regard to vaccinations helps to prevent further devastating and unnecessary loss of life.
“To ensure that the vaccine rollout is thorough and comprehensive, it is vital that the government works with other agencies – including local authorities and care providers – to identify everyone with a learning disability who is eligible rather than rely on the GP Learning Disabilities Register.
“Despite today’s announcement, we remain concerned by the continued lack of clarity about when everyone with learning disabilities, regardless of age, will be invited for vaccination. Given the government’s poor track record on supporting people with learning disabilities throughout the pandemic, we are worried they will continue to be at the back of the queue for the vaccine, and risk isolation from society, even beyond 21 June.
“Hft would therefore like to see the government follow Scotland’s example and clearly prioritise everybody with a learning disability to ensure that no one has to face an unnecessary wait for the Covid-19 vaccination.”
Notes to editors
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Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.
Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.
For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk
Information about learning disabilities
A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:
- Understand new or complex information
- Learn new skills
- Live independently
For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance