Covid vaccination – Learning Disability England’s statement and resources 16.02.2021

We are pleased people in group 6 of the JCVI phase one list are now being invited to have their first Covid vaccine.

This group includes some people with learning disabilities who have not already had the vaccine.

We have now updated the Coronavirus Hub with a new section of useful information about getting the vaccine under group 6.

The JCVI said people with ‘severe and profound’ learning disabilities should be included in this group.

Also people with some serious health conditions are included in this group – this includes a lot of conditions people with learning disabilities are more likely to have.

At Learning Disability England we think it is wrong that ALL people with learning disabilities are not being offered the vaccine straight away.

We think this because of:

1. The information on what has happened when people with learning disabilities get coronavirus:

Public Health England said people with learning disabilities have been more likely to die from Covid 19 than other people.

The report did not say it was only people with severe or profound learning disabilities.

People with learning disabilities aged 18 – 34 were 30 times more likely to die from Covid 19.

The Office for National Statistics said last week that living in a care home or other shared settings was the largest risk factor for people with learning disabilities dying from Covid from the data they looked at.

2. The extra barriers people face:

People with learning disabilities died younger before Covid because of health inequalities including not getting equal access to health services.

There is some evidence people with learning disabilities who can be included based on current JCVI criteria will have more barriers to getting the vaccine at the same rate as others.

We think the current plan adds extra barriers and makes it harder for GPs to find people and include them in the programme.

3. The discrimination people experience:

Disabled people, especially people with learning disabilities, have had DNAR notices put on them or decisions made not to treat them during Covid. 

TeMany people have had support reduced or changed during the pandemic, meaning they can’t always rely on their previous, established support networks being there to help them.xt

For these reasons we will keep trying to get national and local plans changed so everyone with a learning disability is offered vaccination NOW as part of group 6.

The guidance from NHS England tells local areas to decide who fits in the different priority groups or needs.

They also have flexibility to meet local health inequalities and individual need.

Some areas have decided to include everyone with a learning disability in group 6 or above. We now know of 5 areas where this is happening, and more are making announcements every day.

Contact your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to find out if your area is planning to include all people with learning disabilities as a priority for vaccination.

What you can do now for yourself or your family:

1. If you think you, your family member or someone you support should have been offered a vaccine already then you can book your appointment online. You do not have to wait for a letter.

2. Check your GP has the right information about you and any health conditions or caring roles.

You may find it easier to contact them by email or letter if their phonelines are very busy.

3. Be prepared, and think about what will work best for you – this could include what reasonable adjustments might be possible (so for example going to your local GP surgery rather than a mass vaccination centre).

4. Talk about consent for the vaccine and what will happen – there are lots of useful videos, easy read and social stories to help here.