COVID-19 vaccine: lobbying update

The College has been working hard to ensure that people with SMI and intellectual disabilities are not forgotten in the allocation of COVID vaccines.

We’ve written to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and discussed with the Secretary of State Matt Hancock about how these groups are at an elevated risk of morbidity and mortality and that inpatients and residential settings are high-risk environments for these patients.

We were pleased to see that when JCVI updated their guidance in December they included our recommendation that adults with severe mental illness, intellectual disability, and/or dementia are included in the priority group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other high-risk adults with underlying physical health conditions.

We anticipate that vaccine roll-out for people in this group will start very soon and we’re working with NHS England and Equally Well to try and ensure as many people who are eligible are offered the vaccine at the earliest opportunity.

We have also been reviewing the findings from the detailed OpenSAFELY vaccine coverage weekly report.

They have found that patients with pre-existing medical conditions were equally likely, or more likely, to have received a vaccine across most co-morbidity groups but with two exceptions: those with severe mental illness and learning disability.

We will monitor these data closely as the vaccine programme continues.

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