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Call for priority access to jab

18 January 2021

Kisharon has joined calls for those with learning disabilities to have priority access to the Covid vaccine.

Lawyers are threatening to take the UK government to court over the issue after a Public Health England report showed people with learning disabilities were at far higher risk of serious consequences from the virus than those of comparable ages in the general population.

Richard Franklin, Kisharon’s Chief Executive says, “I hope those with learning difficulties will be viewed with equal importance as the ageing community and are offered the vaccine sooner than expected.”

Other organisations backing the call include Access Social Care, Mencap and Learning Disability England.

At this stage, people with Down’s Syndrome who are classed as extremely clinically vulnerable, rank fourth in the priority order for the vaccine, alongside those aged 70 and over. Others may be added by clinicians or family doctors providing they have one or more conditions on the shielded patient list.

Those with severe or profound learning disabilities fall into group six, with chronic neurological disease their underlying health condition.

Campaigning lawyers have urged health secretary Matt Hancock to regard all individuals with learning disabilities as extremely clinically vulnerable and to prioritise those in care settings regardless of their age.

Mencap says that people with a learning disability have faced discrimination throughout the pandemic. A spokeswoman said: “They have faced significant obstacles accessing healthcare, been subjected to Do Not Resuscitate notices and suffered through cuts to social care support and severe isolation. There is an opportunity to put some of this right by ensuring that all people with a learning disability are urgently prioritised for vaccination.”

The British Association of Social Workers pointed out that autistic children and adults or people with moderate learning disabilities are currently not part of the priority vaccine list.

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Pirkei Avos
“The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.” Kisharon looks at the person not the disability, teaching Torah, Middos and Mitzvot embracing and cherishing everybody’s special talent and bringing out the best in them.