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New video and easy read guide to support people with a learning disability through the vaccination process

Published: 30 November 2023

Public Health Wales in collaboration with Improvement Cymru and Learning Disability Wales has coproduced a new video and easy-read guide to support people with a learning disability to explain the process of being invited and having a vaccination.

Officially launching ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rdLearning Disability Wales were commissioned to deliver both these resources which are based on insights gathered through engagement with people with a learning disability, their carers and supporting organisations.

The resources aim to support people with a learning disability to make informed choices about vaccination. These resources will also assist in making people aware of how they can request reasonable adjustments to help support them when having a vaccination.

The video features a person and their carer visiting her GP surgery for her flu vaccine. It highlights some of the key facilitators to support a person with a learning disability to have their vaccination, including requesting reasonable adjustments in advance of her appointment, and help for needle anxiety. 

Dr Christopher Johnson, Head of Public Health Wales Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme, said: “It’s a priority for all healthcare providers in Wales to ensure people with a learning disability feel supported and listened to when receiving health care.

“Vaccinations are incredibly important to the health of individuals, and we want to ensure there are no obstacles for those with a learning disability in receiving theirs.

“Coproduction of these resources has meant that we have been able to develop information that best support people with a learning disability to ensure they have the best outcomes when accessing health services.

Faye Parrington who took part in the video, said: “I took part in the vaccination video because I wanted to show people with a learning disability how important it is to get your vaccines to protect your loved ones, vulnerable people in your community and yourself. I really enjoyed the experience, I met new people and gained new experiences and I hope it will lead to other opportunities.”

Jo Parrington, parent carer, said “From my point of view I would say it is really important to accommodate people with learning disability in the medical area of their lives, many of them, including Faye, have multiple medical issues and attend hospitals and surgeries more often than the average person. They certainly need extra assistance to get through the processes and timings of medical appointments as it helps any anxiety they may have. What is normal and everyday routine for most people is not for this group of our society. We both think that vaccination is important – to protect yourself and others. Faye feels very deeply about helping to protect her friends from harm.”

Dr Grace Krause, Policy Officer, Learning Disability Wales. “I am so glad we got to do this important bit of work. We want to help empower people with a learning disability to be able to speak up and have their say on their health. Most of the people we talked to told us that they really wanted to get vaccinated because they wanted to protect others as well as themselves. But many of them also told us that they are very scared of feeling bad afterwards. They also told us that they often felt that they did not have enough time to make decisions and that people around them sometimes do not give them the support they need. I hope that the video, easy read guide and the project report will help everyone who supports people with a learning disability. Helping them to make decisions about their health and getting the treatment they deserve.”