ALL people on the learning disability register should now be prioritised for a Covid vaccine, the joint committee on vaccination has advised the government reports the BBC.
This means an extra 150,000 people now being eligible, said Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of JCVI.
It follows DJ Jo Whiley’s plea for people such as her sister, Frances, to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Whiley was offered the vaccine before her sister, who has a rare genetic syndrome and lives in residential care.
The broadcaster’s sister is recovering after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus earlier this week.
People with a “severe or profound” learning disability in England and Wales were already in priority group six for the coronavirus vaccine, along with unpaid carers for those with disabilities and the elderly.
And adults with Down’s Syndrome have already been offered a jab, in priority group 4, as part of the UK’s target to vaccinate 15 million people by mid-February.
Now everyone with a learning disability who is registered with a GP will be offered a first dose in group six, which is being vaccinated at the moment.
There are estimated to be around 1.2 million people with a learning disability, but only 250,000 are registered with GPs.
Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland would prioritise all people with learning disabilities in group six on Monday.
A report from Public Health England in November found that people with a learning disability were up to six times more likely to die from Covid-19 and, in the 18-34 age group, their risk was 30 times higher.
At the time, the charity Mencap said the government had failed to protect a group already experiencing health inequalities.