People who are on a GP register for learning disabilities will now be prioritised for a coronavirus vaccination in England, following updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Helen Whately, the care minister, said those registered would be invited for vaccination to ensure people at higher risk of the disease were protected as soon as possible.
Whately said: “I have heard firsthand 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.”
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said he had asked the NHS to implement the advice “immediately”.
The increased risk to those with learning disabilities has been highlighted by the case of the DJ Jo Whiley, who was offered the vaccine before her sister, Frances, who has a genetic disorder and lives in residential care. Frances Whiley tested positive for coronavirus after an outbreak in her Northampton care home and was admitted to hospital.
Jo Whiley described it as a “seismic day”. She told the BBC: “This is a great day – I am so relieved. I’m so happy for all those people who’ve been living in fear.”
(Credit: The Guardian Newspaper)