55,000 people demand Government prioritise people with learning disabilities in vaccine roll-out

A PETITION is taking off to prioritise people with learning disabilities in the vaccine roll-out, as the UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine and the focus shifts onto the logistics of the roll-out.

The current list of who will get the COVID-19 vaccine first does not prioritise people with learning disabilities, even though they are six times more likely to die of coronavirus according to Public Health England.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which decides the order in which people will get the jab, announced today that care home residents are top of the vaccine list – but only for older residents and their carers.

Younger care home residents with learning disabilities are not included in the first wave of the vaccine roll-out despite Professor Dame Sally Davies, former CMO for England, telling a group of MPs today “we have a clear sight of who is most at risk, and I would think they [people with learning disabilities] should be included in the prioritisation of vaccines”.

Mark Topps, a care home manager in Essex, is calling for the Government to prioritise people with learning disabilities. More than 55,000 people have signed his Change.org petition.

Mark says “As the manager of a care home for people with learning disabilities, I have seen first hand how hard people have been hit by this pandemic. This group has suffered not only from the virus itself but the isolation and loneliness too. It’s just not right that people with learning disabilities are at such a higher risk dying of coronavirus but aren’t going to be prioritised for the vaccine.

“I agree that older people and care home workers should be vaccinated first, but adults under 65 who are at high risk from the virus are only sixth on the list of priorities – surely this can’t be right? Please join me in urging the Government to re-think this strategy.

“Over and over the Government has failed to protect one of society’s most vulnerable. Now they must take this opportunity to make it right. This vaccine could be ground breaking, but we must ensure it’s distributed fairly and protect those who need it the most.”

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