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Mencap's important Covid vaccine campaign

Carlisle Mencap is giving its full backing to a campaign to make sure people with a learning disability - who are more than six times as likely to die from coronavirus as the general population - get a potentially life-saving vaccine.

Posted Wednesday, 17th February 2021

CARLISLE Mencap is giving full backing to Mencap’s national campaign to make sure that every person in this country with a learning disability is given a Covid-19 vaccination as a matter of priority.

People with a learning disability are more than six times as likely to die from coronavirus as the general population, but many are not in any of the priority groups that will get a potentially life-saving vaccine. 

The campaign has already seen more than 5,000 people email their local MPs and the government is starting to listen, but more needs to be done which is why Carlisle Mencap, along with other Mencap societies across the country, is urging people to support the campaign.

And nurses are among those calling for the government to rethink its decision not to prioritise all people with a learning disability for Covid-19 vaccination. With only those with Down's Syndrome or a "severe" learning disability explicitly named in the priority guidance, it is feared many others with a learning disability will be at the back of the queue for vaccination despite being at much higher risk of dying from Covid-19 than their peers in the general population.

Learning disability nurse consultant Jim Blair said in The Nursing Times:  "I am disappointed but not surprised. People with a learning disability are often at the back of the queue. Everyone with a learning disability is at high risk," he said. "The 18-34 age group who have a learning disability have a 30 times higher risk of death than general population of the same age according to the Public Health England study."

So do you, or someone in your family, have a learning disability and haven’t been prioritized for the vaccine? Well, we need MPs and ministers to hear from you. Maybe you are not in one of the priority groups for the vaccine and feel you should be, or maybe you are a parent who will get the vaccine before your son or daughter with a learning disability, and you are worried about their safety.

For more details about the campaign, and how you can email your local MP direct, please go to:

·         Meanwhile Carlisle Mencap, along with other Mencap societies across the country, have reacted with concern over reports last month from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19. 

A spokesperson for the Royal Mencap Society said: “We are concerned about the impact of DNACPRs (Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) still sitting on people’s notes, perhaps with them unaware. We’re also unhappy about the apparent contradiction that people with a learning disability are considered so vulnerable and at risk that they shouldn’t be given treatment but aren’t at risk enough to warrant being prioritised highly for the vaccine. 

“Whilst we continue to receive reports about DNARs (Do Not Attempt Resuscitation) being misused, we want to reassure you there is no evidence of this still being a widespread practice. But historical DNARs could remain on people's files that they still may not be aware of.  If you are concerned, contact your GP to check. Please also ask the GP whether you should be prioritised for the Covid vaccine and be on the learning disability register.”

THANK YOU for your support ...