Mencap calls for people with learning disabilities to be prioritised for vaccination
London medics say they are beginning to run out of patients in the government’s top four priority cohorts to vaccinate and fear that lives will be lost unless they are allowed to immunise more people immediately, as reported in the Guardian.
Mencap calls for all people with a learning disability to be prioritised for the vaccine.
Jackie O’Sullivan, Executive Director of Communications, Advocacy and Activism at the learning disability charity Mencap, said:
“It’s encouraging that many in the top 4 priority groups having received the vaccine - but too many people with a learning disability are still waiting, despite being more at risk than the general population. We urge the Government to open up the vaccination programme to priority groups 5 and 6 and, critically, to include everyone with a learning disability in group 6.
“Currently people with a severe or profound learning disability are in group 6 on the vaccine priority list, and adults with Down’s syndrome are in group 4. Yet people with a mild or moderate learning disability are not being prioritised, unless due to their age or clinical vulnerability. This is despite data showing that 65% of those with a learning disability who died from COVID in the first wave in England had a mild or moderate learning disability.
“It’s unacceptable that within a group of people hit so hard by the pandemic, and who even before COVID died on average over 20 years younger than the general population, many are left feeling scared and wondering why they have been left out. The government must act now to help save the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people.”