Many constituents have contacted me regarding the prioritisation of adults with learning disabilities for the Covid-19 vaccine.
I know this has been an incredibly difficult and worrying time for people with learning disabilities and autism. As your MP, I am absolutely committed to supporting people with learning disabilities and autism through every stage of the pandemic, as I know my ministerial colleagues in Government are.
I understand that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has carefully considered the prioritisation of those with learning disabilities and autism. The JCVI’s advice on COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation was developed with the aim of preventing as many deaths as possible. People who are severely affected by learning disabilities are unfortunately at higher risk of death from COVID-19. The advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) remains that adults with severe and profound learning disabilities, and those with learning disabilities in long-stay nursing and residential care settings, should be offered the vaccine in priority group six. People with Down’s syndrome are included in group four. Adults with less severe learning disabilities are not currently prioritised.
GP systems may not always capture the severity of someone’s disability, meaning some adults who are more severely affected by learning disabilities may not be invited for vaccination alongside people with other long-term health conditions. In light of this, I warmly welcome the new recommendations that anyone on the GP Learning Disability Register, as well as adults with other related conditions such as cerebral palsy, should be invited now for a vaccination as part of priority group six. Efforts will also be made to reach out in local communities to identify others also severely affected by a learning disability who may not be registered. This important change will mean at least 150,000 more people with learning disabilities will now be offered the vaccine more quickly.