'All people with a learning disability should get Covid vaccine priority'

19 February 2021, 16:34

By Sam Sholli

All people with a learning disability should be prioritised for the Covid vaccine, a disability charity chief has told LBC.

Speaking to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty, Mencap Chief Executive Edel Harris said: "Well right now what we want more than anything is for all people with a learning disability to be prioritised for the vaccine."

She added that she had put data she had to support her view in front of Government ministers, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Ms Harris said: "We cannot understand why they won't budge from their position, which is if you have Down syndrome you're in group 4 in the priority list and if you have what they describe as a 'severe or profound learning disability' you're in group 6."

She added: "But it's an arbitrary definition...If you have a learning disability full stop you're more likely to die."

Meanwhile, the head of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said that age is likely to be a dominant factor in deciding who will be next in line to receive the jab.

New data shows Covid-19 case rates are continuing to fall in all regions of England as the number of people vaccinated across the UK nears 17 million.

So far, 16,996,806 jabs have been given in the UK, with 16,423,082 first doses - a rise of 482,110 on the previous day - and 573,724 second doses - an increase of 15,147 on figures released the previous day.