On the 18th of December, the JCVI replied to the Open Letter that Learning Disability England and partners sent to them in November.
The Open Letter asked for ALL people with learning disabilities and their family and paid supporters to be made a priority for the Covid 19 vaccine.
The JCVI said in their reply that they will not add all people with learning disabilities to the priority list for vaccination.
Their letter said:
“The Committee considers that it is important to focus current efforts on persons with Down’s Syndrome and persons with severe and profound learning disability.”
On 30 December the JCVI updated their priority list for who will get the vaccine first.
This updated guidance says that there should be flexibility at a local level.
This means local authorities, CCGs and even GPs can prioritise people based on their individual circumstances or to address local health inequalities.
The updated priority list includes:
people with ‘severe and profound learning disabilities’
people with Down’s Syndrome
people with neurological conditions including epilepsy
people with severe mental illness
It also includes ‘those who are in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill’.
Some people have said they want more information about what a vaccine is to help them to decide if they want to have it.
Watch the video of self advocate Katie Mathews interviewing Dr Roger Banks, the NHS National Clinical Director for Learning Disabilities about what a vaccine is.
Learning Disability England will continue to campaign for all people with learning disabilities to be a priority for the vaccine.
The co-signatories to the Open Letter are currently discussing how they will jointly respond to the JCVI.
And Learning Disability England members are writing to their MPs and telling us what their MP said.
Do you think all people with a learning disability should be a priority for vaccine?
If so, please join your voice to the campaign. We are stronger and louder together.
Please write to your MP. You can use this simple template from Speak Up to help you.
And you can tell us what your MP said in the short survey here.
This is really important as it makes sure we all stay connected and members are leading what Learning Disability England does next.