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

“Data released today by the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) highlights the tragic loss of life of people with a learning disability during this crisis. Of the deaths reported to LeDeR, 60% of deaths of people with a learning disability in a week (8th – 15th January) were COVID related. 

“Shockingly, not everyone with a learning disability is being prioritised for the vaccine, despite them being over 6 times more likely to die from coronavirus - and at a younger age. While people with a severe or profound learning disability are prioritised in group 6 – and adults with Down’s syndrome in group 4 – others with a mild to moderate learning disability aren’t being prioritised at all. 

“This is despite LeDeR data stating that the majority (65%) of people with a learning disability who died from COVID in the first wave had a mild or moderate learning disability. Mencap is urgently calling for all people with a learning disability to be prioritised for the vaccine to help protect against needless loss of life.”

LeDeR's data is available 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.