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Good news: young people and adults on Learning Disability Register to be prioritised for vaccine

Fantastic news: all young people (age 16 and over) and adults on the Learning Disability Register will now be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine in England. This means 150,000 more people at higher risk being offered a jab more quickly in England.

The government announcement follows Jo Whiley’s plea for people such as her sister, Frances, to be vaccinated as quickly as possible. Frances has a rare genetic syndrome and lives in residential care, where she contracted Covid-19.

How will young people be invited?

People on the Learning Disability Register will receive an invitation from their local GP Practice for their Covid-19 vaccination – everyone in the priority list will be offered the vaccine as soon as possible. Exact timing will depend on supplies arriving at GP Hubs but you can keep up to date with the Vaccination Programme here: Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme | Sussex Health & Care Partnership (sussexhealthandcare.uk).

If you are unsure if you, or your young person, is on the Register, then try to remember if you/they have been invited to attend a yearly Annual Health Check. If so, then you/they are on the Learning Disability Register. If you are not sure, then check with the practice manager at your GP surgery – reception staff may not always be aware of the Learning Disability Register.

Anyone with a learning disability can be added to the Register even if they do not have a formal diagnosis. Please check the box at the bottom of this news piece for more information on the definition of learning disability. Joining the register should mean you are invited more quickly for a Covid-19 vaccination, but also means you will be offered an annual health check.

You can download this handy Covid Vaccination & Reasonable Adjustments easy read form to ask about the register or request reasonable adjustments for your vaccination appointment.

Amaze will be contacting young people on the Compass who are likely to be eligible to go on the Learning Disability Register with their GP, to remind them of the benefits of doing this and how, if they have not done so already. Young people with learning disabilities aged 16-25 who live in West Sussex or Brighton & Hove can join our Compass registers here.

Amaze and the parent carer forums are continuing to work with local health teams, to highlight the need for reasonable adjustments for people with learning disabilities when attending vaccination centres.

Young people with learning disabilities who are nervous about vaccination may like to watch this video about vaccinations from the local Sussex healthcare team explaining why it’s good to get a vaccine and how the process works.

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is:

  • A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence)
  • A reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning)
  • Which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

(Valuing People, 2001)

A learning disability isn’t:

Learning Difficulty

  • Learning difficulty may include specific issues such as dyslexia.
  • Does not necessarily impair social functioning

Acquired Brain Injury (in adults)

  • Social and intellectual development normal prior to injury

Autistic Spectrum Conditions

  • Main difficulty is social functioning
  • 44 – 52% of people with autism also have learning disability – people with autism and a learning disability ARE eligible to go on the Learning Disability Register
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