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ShieldUs call to action for our learning disabilities community’s right to life

ShieldUs are joining campaigners all around the UK calling for our Learning Disability Community to be given priority for vaccines and the right to shield.  

Following the Guardian’s article on the 13th of February “Fury at ‘do not resuscitate’ notices given to Covid patients with learning disabilities” we learned that younger people with learning disabilities aged 18 to 34 are 30 times more likely to die of Covid than others the same age from Public Health England. ​

This coupled along with the Analysis by the Office for National Statistics showing that 6 in 10 Covid-19 related deaths were of people with a disability, desperately proves the need for action to protect and save our most vulnerable. 

These figures are staggering especially given there are approximately 1,130,000 adults with a learning disability in the UK, 351,000 are children.  

he Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year.  The CQC warned in December that some of the “inappropriate” do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) notices applied in the spring may still be in place and called on all care providers to check with the person concerned that they consent. 

DNACPR should never have been used in this way and it’s horrifying to hear that Mencap are still hearing this practice is continuing even after the CQC warned in December that vulnerable lives had been lost. 

​The CQC is due to publish a report on the practice within weeks. Our shielding community and people with learning disabilities have suffered horrendous discrimination throughout this pandemic.

It’s unacceptable that within a group of people hit so hard by the pandemic, and who even before Covid died on average over 20 years younger than the general population, many are left feeling scared and wondering why they have been left out. The JCVI and government must act now to help save the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people by urgently prioritising all people with a learning disability for the vaccine.

Edel Harris, Mencap’s chief executive

Now is the time for action, especially as our Clinically Extremely Vulnerable children many of whom have learning disabilities cannot have the vaccine! ShieldUs fully support this call to the JCVI and all the Devolved Administrations to act now, and protect these vulnerable lives by:

  • Priorisisting all people with a learning disability for vaccines.
  • Adding all people with learning disabilities to the shielding list.
  • Recognition that our Clinically Extremely Vulnerable children cannot have the vaccine and whole family units are shielding to protect these precious lives.
  • Creating a shielding strategy that gives whole families and/or individuals the full support they need to shield, especially in relation to schools.
  • Working with campaign groups, charities and organisations who are supporting our most vulnerable.


For more information and to get in touch with ShieldUs go to:  

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