The Government pledged to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to the top four priority cohorts by Monday 15 February, including anyone aged 70 or over and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
As the deadline nears, and new figures from the Office of National Statistics show almost two thirds (59 per cent) of people who have died from Covid-19 are disabled (1), disability equality charity Scope warns some disabled people are being forgotten.
James Taylor, executive director of strategy, impact and social change at disability equality charity Scope said, “It’s welcome news that millions of people have now received their first dose of the Covid 19 vaccination. However, we do not know just how many disabled people have missed out on receiving a vaccine in recent weeks, because the process has not always been accessible. Scope’s helpline has heard from disabled people, who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, who haven’t been able to get to their GP for their much longed for vaccine, and have been left without any information or support.
“It is vital that the Government ensures there is clear communication and guidance for disabled people about the vaccine, and that all routes to vaccination are as accessible as possible.
“As the focus now shifts to vaccinating the over 50s, we are concerned many younger disabled people, despite being at higher risk from Covid-19 and struggling after months of isolation and lack of support, are still waiting anxiously in the sidelines, unsure of when they will be allowed to get their vaccine.
“These groups of disabled people – some still shielding by choice – must not be left behind. We want to see all disabled people who are shielding to be prioritised for the vaccine, regardless of age or condition.”
Scope’s survey of over 1,000 disabled people in January 2021 found:
- 75 per cent of disabled people will continue shielding until they’ve had two doses of a vaccine
- Almost 1 in 4 (23 per cent) are concerned they won’t be able to access a vaccination centre
- Just one in 10 have been able to get all the support they’ve needed from their local council (11 per cent) and the UK government (10 per cent)