The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has released new advice on the vaccination of people with severe and profound learning disabilities in priority group six.
150,000 people with learning disabilities will now be prioritised for the vaccination in England.
Everyone who is on their GP’s Learning Disability Register will be invited for the vaccination, with people encouraged to contact their local GP to check they are on the register and if not, to be place on it immediately.
“I have heard first-hand how tough this pandemic has been for people with learning disabilities and their families,” said Minister for Care, Helen Whately.
“We are determined those more at risk from COVID should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Following the JCVI’s updated advice and to make this process simpler and faster, we will be inviting everyone for vaccination who is on their GP’s learning disability register. This will mean those who are at a higher risk from the virus can get the protection they need.”
Scotland announced on Monday (22 February) that everyone with a learning disability, moderate, severe or profound will be prioritised for the next roll out of the vaccine. The Welsh Government announced their plans to get everyone with a learning disability vaccinated as a priority yesterday (23 February).
The calls to put people with a learning disability into priority group six in all devolved nations comes after intense campaigning by charities and celebrities alike.
BBC Radio 2 presenter, Jo Whiley has been outspoken about the fact she was called for the vaccine over her sister, Francis, who lives with a severe learning disability and is diabetic.
Days after the announcement, an outbreak of COVID-19 saw Francis contracting the virus and being taken into intensive care. Thankfully, Francis is recovery and the news of people with a learning disability being prioritised is welcomed.
Jo Whiley commented: “This is a great day, I am so relieved. I‘m so happy for all those people who have been living in fear.”
The NHS is also being asked to work with local authorities to identify other adults in the community who are living with a learning disability and may not be on the register, to be offered the vaccine.
Don’t miss our interview with members of the learning disability community who have received their vaccine coming this week.