Anyone on a GP learning disability register now gets priority for the jab and is being invited to get their vaccination - and get protected.
The virus has had a huge impact on people with a learning disability because clinically, they are more at risk.
Figures from Public Health England show they are six times more likely to die from Covid-19 than the wider population – and younger adults aged 18-34 with a learning disability are 30 times more likely to die of Covid than young adults in the general population.
Asking for extra support
So being prioritised for the jab is really good news. However, many people need extra support and reassurance to have the jab – including Elliot (22) and Natalie (31), pictured above.
Both hate needles and had their flu vaccines by nasal spray. But both were super brave and agreed to have their Covid jabs – because they know it will help keep them - and others - safe.
Their mums, Kari and Debbie, who both work at Healthwatch, went with them to Dumbelton Medical Centre in St Neots and Alconbury Surgery near Huntingdon – which are not their usual GP surgeries.
Facing unfamiliar staff and surroundings, both Elliot and Natalie found the appointment difficult but NHS staff at both surgeries gave them extra time and reassurance.
“I was really nervous about going for the vaccine even though I knew lots of people had already had it. I went to a GP surgery on a Saturday morning with my mum.
"I had some treats in car for afterwards and was going to get a surprise from my brother too. Mum was allowed to come in with me. We did not have to queue for long.
"We knew a lady I had met before was working there that day (Jackie) so we asked if we could go into her room. The people at the door were really helpful and told me which side to queue.
"As there were lots of rooms being used a lady came and made sure we were able to go into the room with Jackie in. There was Jackie and another lady (who was wearing scrubs) in the room. They shut the door so people in the corridor couldn’t see me being a bit upset.
"Both ladies were really kind and let me take my time. They did everything I asked. I wanted to know when the needle was going to go in, I was able to choose which arm I had it in too.
"When it was done I left really quickly - it was not as bad as I thought as I could hardly feel it. I will have to go and have another one in 12 weeks.”
Elliot told us about his jab
“We had to queue in the car park for about 15 minutes. I was OK until we had to go into the appointment room.
“I found it quite stressful and got a bit upset. The needle hurt. But I did it!
“It’s a good thing to have had it because I feel like it protects me. My mum took me to KFC afterwards as a treat. She was really proud of me for having it done. So was my Dad and my sister.
More about the GP Learning Disability Register
Sign up to your GP’s Learning Disability Register. Anyone aged 14+ on the list can get extra support and an annual health check to help them stay well and find any problems early.
The GP surgery should make reasonable adjustments to how they do things to make appointments and care better for people with a learning disability.
For example, using pictures or simple words or giving patients more time.
More information on the register
The Covid-19 vaccination
Annual health checks