Nicola Sturgeon has promised that people with learning disabilities will be invited for vaccination from next week, after best-selling crime writer Ian Rankin accused the Scottish government of “forgetting about” individuals like his son, Kit, who has the genetic condition Angelman syndrome.
This comes after DJ Jo Whiley described the “nightmare” of waiting for her sister, who also has learning disabilities, to receive the vaccine.
Asked about the case at FMQs, Sturgeon said that her government was considering whether it needed to take further action but added that “a range of people with learning disabilities” are already classed as extremely clinically vulnerable and were thus included in the 140,000 of that group already vaccinated.
She went on: “[Others with learning disabilities] will be offered the vaccine as part of cohort six and invitations should start to be issued from next week.”
Rankin has called for people with learning disabilities like his son to be moved further up the vaccination list. In an online interview with the disability campaigner Nicky Clark, Rankin said that his 26-year-old son had been shielding in a care facility where he has been unable to hug visitors since the beginning of last March.
The learning disabled have been ignored. We keep being blithely told that care homes are at the top of the list and everybody in care homes has been treated and you are thumping the table going ‘No they’ve not’. The most vulnerable are people with learning disabilities and my son has not been vaccinated yet. Perfectly healthy 65-year-olds in Scotland are being vaccinated but not my son or the other people in his facility.
The Scottish Conservatives’ Holyrood leader, Ruth Davidson, said the report by the public spending watchdog highlighted “a catalogue of missed opportunities”, especially around PPE supply and social care capacity.
Sturgeon said there were “lots of lessons” to learn, but that the “paramount point” in the report was that the Scottish government responded quickly.
She added that her government had been preparing for a flu pandemic and that “a more valid criticism is that we relied too much on flu preparedness and hadn’t done enough to rely on experiences of Sars-type outbreaks”.
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