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COVID-19: GPs opt to prioritise all patients with learning disabilities for vaccination

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Local groups of GPs have decided to prioritise all patients with learning disabilities for COVID-19 vaccination, after fresh evidence showed that disabled patients were at much higher risk from the disease.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics1 showed that 60% of people in England who died from covid-19 from January to November 2020 (30 296 of 50 888) had a disability.

This week an extra 1.7 million people in England—including some with severe learning disabilities—are being added to the list of people identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, although this does not include people with mild or moderate learning disabilities. But some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have deviated from national guidance and said that they will prioritise all patients with learning disabilities for vaccination given the disproportionate impact on them.

In a statement published on its website, Kent and Medway CCG said that it had decided to include all adults with learning disabilities in the current priority phase for vaccination delivery. “Given the evidence of covid-19 inequalities increasing deaths amongst people with learning disabilities, the NHS in Kent and Medway has agreed to prioritise vaccinating the 9500 people on GP learning disability registers,” it said.

Oxfordshire CCG was also praised by local campaigners for adjusting its priority list so that everybody with a learning disability is included in priority group 6, regardless of its severity.

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Source: BMJ, 19 February 2021

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