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25 February 2021

Priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine granted for all adults with learning disabilities

2 mins

We are delighted that following legal action brought by Bindmans LLP, and recent press attention on this issue, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that all adults on the learning disabilities register should now be prioritised for vaccination against Covid-19. This decision will enable 150,000 adults with learning disabilities in England to be vaccinated much sooner, a first step towards addressing some of the health inequalities faced by this group during the pandemic. Expert evidence filed in the legal proceedings highlighted that GPs rarely have access to information about a patient’s level of learning disability, leading to significant difficulties in identifying which patients should be prioritised under the previous system. The JCVI has now recognised these difficulties, as well as the increased mortality rate from Covid-19 within this group.

Elizabeth Cleaver, Solicitor in our Public Law team commented:

We are delighted that all people on the learning disabilities register will now have priority access to the vaccine. The previous prioritisation scheme failed to recognise that all individuals with learning disabilities are at increased risk of dying from Covid-19, and it was also unworkable for GPs. This decision will enable 150,000 people with learning disabilities to be vaccinated sooner, which is a step towards addressing the health inequalities faced by this group during the pandemic.

The grandmother of our client, X, commented:

I am eternally grateful to you for all you have done for us. You came on board when I had reached a point where I could not see a way forward. Thanks to you, once we all get our vaccinations we will be able to visit X again and take her out in the community and give her a more varied life.

The Claimants were represented by Elizabeth Cleaver of Bindmans LLP, and Steve Broach and Rachel Sullivan of 39 Essex Street.

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