Dan Scorer, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Mencap, said:
“The BMJ’s findings provide further evidence of the shocking health inequalities faced by people with a learning disability during the pandemic. People with a learning disability have long been forgotten about and discriminated against, and never more so than in this crisis.
“As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, it’s critical that the Government prioritises everyone with a learning disability for booster jabs in the autumn. Despite the shockingly high death rate of people with a learning disability from Covid-19, it’s not clear whether they will be prioritised. The Government and NHS must also raise awareness of the Learning Disability register and the benefits of being on it amongst people with a learning disability and their families, as being on the register has many benefits and entitles people to annual health checks, as well as the flu jab to help keep them safe and well.
“We also urge the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to include disabled young people in the vaccine programme, as is happening in other countries. This is particularly important for young people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and who are extremely worried about the final stage of lockdown easing in just a few days time.”
You can find the research from The BMJ here: http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/july/disability.pdf
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.