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

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n510 (Published 19 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n510

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People with an intellectual disability should be prioritised for vaccination

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

Dear Editor

It is appropriate that all those with learning disabilities be offered the Covid-19 vaccine as a matter of urgency.
Those adults with Downs Syndrome should already have had it. (They are part of Group 4 of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), as they were already defined as "clinically extremely vulnerable" by the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE).)
Whether all adults with learning disabilities should have been included in the early 4 groups for vaccination can be looked at later, but logically, as commented on in the article, this group, often with complex disabilities, may well be less able to adhere to the "rules" and certainly, if in a care setting, are more at risk from contact with each other and / or their carers. In view of the mortality figures for the disabled in general, the decision to exclude care homes for younger adults from the early vaccinations seems perverse.
These vaccinations will be too late for many. The frightening experience of Acute Respiratory Syndrome, coupled with inevitable problems accepting necessary oxygen and other therapies, make prevention the better option.

Yours faithfully,
Charles Sears FRCGP., FRSPH.,

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 February 2021
Charles A N Sears
Retired GP
None
England