Prioritising people with a learning disability in the coronavirus response

Care body says people with a learning disability should be at the ‘front of queue’ to receive the forthcoming Covid-19 vaccine.

07/12/20

Prioritising people with a learning disability in the coronavirus response

Care England has called for people with a learning disability to be prioritised in the public health response to Covid-19.

The body has signed an open letter to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health, arguing the ‘pertinence’ of people with a learning disability, as well as the people who support them, receiving the vaccine as a priority.

The calls come after data, released by Public Health England last month, found that people with learning disabilities were six times more likely to die from Covid-19.
Read our story about the higher death rate for people with a learning disability: www.socialworktoday.co.uk/News/People-with-learning-disabilities-up-to-30-times-more-likely-to-die-from-COVID-19

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “The Covid-19 pandemic has accentuated the need for urgent action to address the long-standing health inequalities experienced by individuals with a learning disability.

“The dark picture painted by emerging research, namely the Public Health England (PHE) report published on 12 November, only increases the pertinence of placing people with a learning disability, as well as the people who support them, at the front of queue to receive the forthcoming Covid-19 vaccination.”

Care England says the report on higher death rates for people with a learning disability ‘underscored’ previous research, such as the annual Learning Disability Mortality Review, which has consistently reported health inequalities and discrimination that individuals with a learning disability experience which consequently leads to negative health outcomes and premature mortality.

Care England says that much of this picture is preventable and is why they have co-signed a letter to the Joint Vaccination Immunisation Committee (JVIC) – alongside Learning Disability England and other national bodies – calling for urgent addressal of these health inequalities as well as the prioritisation of this group for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Martin Green continued: “We must learn lessons from the first wave of the pandemic. Prioritising these individuals for the Covid-19 vaccine and other public health measures will help safeguard some of society’s most vulnerable.”

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