DHSC, 'Letter from the Health and Social Care Secretary on COVID-19 vaccination in people with learning disabilities' (24/2/21)
Coronavirus vaccination and LD The Health Secretary has asked the NHS to ensure that everyone on the Learning Disability Register is invited for vaccination as part of cohort 6.
Extract from DHSC circular email, 24/2/21
Minister for Care, Helen Whately has said:
“I have heard first-hand how tough this pandemic has been for people with learning disabilities and their families. We are determined those more at risk from Covid should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Following the JCVI’s updated advice and to make this process simpler and faster, we will be inviting everyone for vaccination who is on their GP’s learning disability register. This will mean those who are at a higher risk from the virus can get the protection they need.”
- This is not a change in the JCVI priority list but an operational clarification to ensure those with a severe and profound learning disability receive their offer as part of cohort 6.
- The government is following the recommendations of the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on which groups to prioritise for Covid-19 vaccines, and this advice is informed by extensive data on mortality and other factors.
- The JCVI advised the immediate priority should be to prevent deaths and protect health and care staff, with old age deemed the biggest factor determining mortality.
- The JCVI has looked at extensive data on mortality from COVID-19 in coming to its recommendation, which included the available data on those with learning disabilities. As a result, the JCVI added people with severe and profound learning disabilities to group 6 for the vaccine.
- Adults with Down’s syndrome face an evidenced high risk of severe outcomes and have therefore already been added to the list of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable conditions. People with Down’s syndrome were prioritised for the vaccine in group 4, accordingly.