Dan Scorer, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Mencap, said:
“We welcome today's important new guidance that some groups of children with a learning disability will be offered the Pfizer vaccine – this will be a huge relief to many families feeling fearful about the easing of restrictions and the vulnerability of their unvaccinated loved one.
“It’s also critical that the Government prioritises all adults with a learning disability for booster jabs this autumn. Recent findings published in The British Medical Journal showed that people with a learning disability with COVID are five times more likely to be admitted to hospital and eight times more likely to die compared with the general population of England. These findings are further evidence of the shocking health inequalities facing this often forgotten group. Yet despite this high death rate, it’s not yet clear whether people with a learning disability will be prioritised for booster jabs.”
For further information or to arrange an interview with a Mencap spokesperson or case study, please contact Mencap’s media team on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).
Notes to editors:
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: 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 email@example.com.
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.