Bindmans LLP have sent an urgent legal letter to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, requesting that individuals with learning disabilities be granted priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine on an equal basis with other highly vulnerable adults. This follows a report from Public Health England last month which found that individuals with learning disabilities were three to six times’ more likely to die from Covid-19 than the general population, during the first wave of the pandemic. For individuals such as Bindmans’ 19 year old client Y, the death rate rises to a shocking 30 times higher than the general population within the same age range.
The Secretary of State is urged to recognise that those with learning disabilities are extremely clinically vulnerable to complications from Covid-19, and should be prioritised accordingly for access to the vaccine. Those who reside within care settings, such as Y, are particularly prone to contracting the virus due to the congregate nature of such settings and practical difficulties with social distancing. To date, no priority has been given to those residing in care settings other than care homes for older adults.
Bindmans LLP’s proposed legal challenge is supported by the Access Social Care charity. Y is represented by Elizabeth Cleaver of our Public Law Team and Steve Broach of 39 Essex Street chambers.