Jewish charity welcomes vaccine invite for people with learning disabilities

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Jewish charity welcomes vaccine invite for people with learning disabilities

Weeks after Jewish News raised the alarm on the issue, the government announces that 150,000 vulnerable people will get the option of a vaccine

Children with special needs are four times more vulnerable to the pandemic
Children with special needs are four times more vulnerable to the pandemic

The Government has said people with learning disabilities will now be invited for Covid-19 vaccines – just weeks after Jewish News called for this on its front cover.

Jewish charities welcomed the news that 150,000 people on the GP Learning Disability Register will get their jab “as soon as possible”.

Hadassa Kessler, the director of operations at Jewish learning disabilities charity Kisharon, said the news “can’t come soon enough”.

She said: “We have been advocating [for this] from the start but haven’t always been successful and have been told to wait our turn. There has been a lot of anxiety given the statistics around Covid deaths for people with learning disabilities”.

Jewish News’ high-profile campaign last month called for people with learning disabilities to be prioritised, given that they can be up to four times more vulnerable to the coronavirus, and the issue was thrust into the spotlight yet again this week, with the high-profile hospitalisation of the sister of BBC DJ Jo Whiley.

Jewish News’ front page on the appeal

“I am so relieved to hear that all people with learning disabilities will now be offered vaccine at priority level 6,” said Kessler. “So many people and their families have long awaited this day and will now be so reassured.”

Concern was raised after recent study by Public Health England revealed the death rate for people aged 18-34 with learning disabilities was 30 times higher than the rate in the same age group without disabilities.

Last week, NHS figures showed that in the five weeks since the third lockdown began, Covid-19 accounted for 65 percent of deaths of people with learning disabilities.

Evidence is also emerging that many Covid patients with learning disabilities have been given DNRs [Do Not Resuscitate orders for medics], which has led to an outcry from rights groups.

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