Welsh Government have decided to offer vaccine priority to people with learning disabilities, in response to a sector wide campaign that Pobl, and many colleagues backed.
A learning disability consortium campaign was formed to highlight that some people with a learning disability are more than six times as likely to die from coronavirus as the general population and asking for specific adjustments to be made to protect those most at risk.
After several days of furious letter writing, social media posting and sharing (thanks to all colleagues who played their part!) Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced the change in approach on Wednesday:
“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with a severe/profound learning disability and individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment, should be invited for vaccination as part of priority group six.”
Plaid Cymru MS Delyth Lloyd helped raise the issue with Ministers – she wrote to thank Pobl colleagues, saying:
“The grassroots campaign, which included you sending emails to your representatives, no doubt played a key role in the change of policy… that will doubtless save lives”.
James Wadlow, Pobl’s Director of Care was ‘both relieved and pleased’ saying:
“This is the news that we have been hoping for. The correct decision and one that rightly recognises people who have have a learning disability.”
A great result and proof that we can make a difference by raising our voice to represent those we support.