Thank you for writing to me about COVID-19 vaccines for those with learning disabilities.
I know this has been an incredibly difficult and worrying time for people with learning disabilities, and I would like to assure you that I am absolutely committed to supporting people with learning disabilities through every stage of this pandemic.
It is my understanding that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has carefully considered the prioritisation of those with learning disabilities. Current evidence strongly indicates, however, that the single greatest risk of mortality from COVID-19 is increasing age and that the risk increases exponentially with age. When compared to persons without underlying health conditions, the absolute increased risk in those with underlying health conditions is considered generally to be lower than the increased risk in persons over the age of 65. The exception to this is the clinically extremely vulnerable. The JCVI's advice is therefore to offer vaccination to those aged 65 years and over, followed by those in clinical risk groups aged 16 years and over. This includes those with severe and profound learning disabilities.
It is important to note also that whilst the JCVI has given its recommendations on the first phase of prioritisation (groups 1-9), they are still due to come forward with recommendations of further prioritisation. I know that the JCVI is in the process of considering the next phase of the vaccination programme, and they have said that the points raised with them regarding the wider numbers of persons with mild and moderate learning disabilities will be taken into account in the relevant discussions and considerations ahead.
Please be assured that I will be following developments very closely indeed, and will raise your concerns, where appropriate, when I speak with senior ministerial colleagues.
Thank you again for writing to me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking