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Disability campaigners welcome vaccine victory

 

Learning disabled will be among those vaccinated next

Disability groups have welcomed moves to vaccinate those with mild to moderate learning disabilities.  

The Scottish Government announced they would be included in the current priority group to receive the vaccine, alongside unpaid carers.

Previously only those with “severe or profound” disabilities were included, as well as those with neurological conditions.

Priority group six is the largest of those offered vaccination so far, and includes all those aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions, including those with diabetes, blood cancer, heart problems, liver or kidney disease and those who have had an organ transplant.

Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement at her daily coronavirus briefing.

She said: “As of this week, we are also starting to vaccinate people with the first dose in priority group six. This includes people with certain underlying health conditions, which include but are not limited to heart disease, diabetes, or a severe or profound learning disability.

"I can though confirm today that with the agreement of the chief medical officer we also intend to include people with mild or moderate learning disabilities in group six, although we will we will have some work to do to make sure we are identifying and reaching everyone in that category.”

Jan Savage, Enable Scotland’s director of campaigns and membership, said: “Thanks to a huge collaborative effort from everyone in Scotland who cares about people who have a learning disability, we have seen a significant change in Scottish Government policy that will be a massive source of comfort and relief for thousands of families across Scotland.

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government has listened to the campaigning voices of our members and supporters and acted on the evidence presented to offer new guidance that will help keep vulnerable people safe from infection and save lives.”

The issue was has been heightened across the UK after Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley launched a campaign for her sister Frances, who has a learning disability and diabetes, to be given a vaccine.

The presenter questioned why she had been offered a vaccine ahead of her sister, who has since been given a jab but is now in hospital with Covid-19.

 

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