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Vaccination for all who have learning disabilities

Leo Sowerby, Affinity Trust’s Chief Executive, has written to MPs who have constituents we support, calling on them to support the prioritisation of all people with learning disabilities for vaccination against covid-19:

I expect you are aware of the concerns surrounding the government’s refusal to prioritise all people with learning disabilities for receipt of the vaccine against covid-19.

Affinity Trust supports almost 1,000 people with learning disabilities, including some in your constituency, and has direct experience of the vulnerability and health concerns of the people we support who have a wide range of learning disabilities.

Some simple facts demonstrate why people with learning disabilities should be given priority:

  • The rate of death from covid-19 for people with learning disabilities is 6.3 times higher than the general population (Learning Disabilities Mortality Review).

  • Covid-19 increased the number of deaths for people with learning disabilities by a greater margin than that of the general population (Public Health England).

  • Since the third lockdown began, covid-19 accounted for 65% of deaths of people with learning disabilities compared to 39% of the general population (NHS and Office for National Statistics).

  • Younger people with learning disabilities are 30 times more likely to die of covid-19 than others of the same age (Public Health England).

  • Do not attempt resuscitation notices have caused potentially avoidable deaths of people with learning disabilities (Care Quality Commission).

These figures make clear that priority should be given to all people with learning disabilities, not only those with severe or profound disabilities.

That the government has not afforded this priority to all people with learning disabilities is a shocking example of the discrimination experienced by this group of people. People with learning disabilities already suffer significant health inequalities and should not be subject to such discrimination from their government.

I urge you to press the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to give people with learning disabilities priority for the vaccine now.

Leo Sowerby
Chief Executive

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