People with learning disabilities now have priority for the COVID-19 vaccine in Camden
Residents with a learning disability, who are on their GP’s learning disability register, are now being offered priority access to the coronavirus vaccine.
Though people with a severe learning disability (including Down’s Syndrome) were eligible for the vaccine in national priority groups four and six, many others with less severe conditions were not able to access it, despite still being at significantly higher risk of serious illness or death from coronavirus.
However from 24 February, everyone on the GP learning disability register has now been given priority status for the Covid-19 vaccine after the Government changed national public health guidance.
In Camden, we recognised this need early on in the vaccine rollout, and the Council worked with Primary Care Networks in the borough to enable higher risk people to have the vaccine sooner.
Part of this work included a team of nurses from Camden’s Learning Disability Service (CLDS) being trained to administer vaccines to people with learning disabilities at the start of the vaccine rollout programme.
In partnership with local GPs and the local Community Health Team, CLDS has so far vaccinated nearly all people with a learning disability who live in shared ‘supported living’ accommodation across Camden who were at the highest risk from the virus.
Residents with a learning disability are now being urged to make sure they are registered with a GP, and that their GP has included them on their learning disability register. GPs will then contact residents on the register to invite them for an appointment.
It was vital my colleagues and I trained to administer vaccines to people with learning disabilities to ensure they could be protected as soon as possible. We go out around the borough visiting people with a learning disability to vaccinate them in their homes. It’s a great initiative, we combine the knowledge and skills of the health and social care professionals who work together in the Learning Disabilities team with people with learning disabilities and their families to make sure we’re acting in the best interests of people we support.
The feedback we’ve had from families has been brilliant so far and so I’d strongly encourage everyone with a learning disability to check they are on the register and to ask their GP to be put on it if they are not. This will ensure you get access to the Covid vaccine and help keep you safe and protected.
We know people with learning disabilities are at higher risk from Covid-19, so it’s absolutely right the Government have made the change so that all adults with learning disabilities will now be offered the vaccine as a priority.
We recognised this need and from the start of the vaccine programme have been working closely with our Primary Care Networks to enable higher risk people to get the vaccine as soon as possible. This has meant we could help protect our most clinically vulnerable residents.
I’d like to thank the wonderful nurses and staff of the CLDS who have been working hard and using their expertise to deliver vaccines to people with learning disabilities – this work will make a huge difference for many of our residents and be a relief to so many families.
If you have a learning disability and you would like support with the vaccination process in Camden, call 020 7974 4444 (option 9).
For more information about the vaccine itself, and the vaccination process, visit camden.gov.uk/vaccines.