Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: 

“Today’s ONS data yet again highlights the huge differences in the COVID death rate for people with a learning disability, with men dying at 3.5 times the rate of men in the general population. For women it was as much as 4 times higher. The government must step up and address this scandal and prioritise everyone with a learning disability for the vaccine. 

“Currently people with a severe or profound learning disability are in group 6 on the vaccine priority list, and adults with Down’s syndrome are in group 4. Yet people with a mild or moderate learning disability are not being prioritised, unless due to their age or clinical vulnerability.  

“We are urgently calling for everyone with a learning disability to be prioritised in at least group 6 on the vaccine priority list. It is unacceptable that within a group of people who already face serious barriers to accessing healthcare, many are being left out and their lives put in danger.” 

The new data from ONS can be found here.


For further information or to arrange an interview with a Mencap spokesperson or case study, please contact Mencap’s media team on:

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.

Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.

Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

Visit www.mencap.org.uk.

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (10am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@mencap.org.uk.

What is a learning disability?    

  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life
  • Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’
  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.