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Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 death figures of ‘vulnerable’ shock Scottish government to change vaccine priority   

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First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that people with mild and moderate developmental disabilities will be given Covid-19 vaccine priority; this after the Sunday National revealed that these people are three times more likely to die from the virus than the general population.  

The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory (SLDO) produced data showing that those with developmental disabilities were twice as likely to become infected with Covid-19 and experience a “severe outcome” resulting in hospitalisation.

Epilepsy Scotland demanded that all people with developmental disabilities, despite the severity, be placed in category group six.

Up until now, only those considered to have extreme disabilities had been in this group.

First Minister Sturgeon has decided to change the government’s policy, stating that people with mild and moderate learning disabilities will now be placed into priority group six and their unpaid caregivers, such as family members.

Group six already encompasses anyone aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart problems and those who have had organ transplants. The change to include Scots with mild and moderate developmental disabilities will take this priority group’s numbers to around 1 million people.

First Minister Sturgeon said, “We will have some work to do to make sure we are identifying and reaching everyone in that category.”

She added, “Group six is the largest group we will have covered so far. It will take some weeks to cover everyone in that group.

“If you don’t receive a letter this week or next, don’t worry, we will get to you.”

Data on benefits recipients and from General Practitioners will be used to reach all those who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

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.”

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