People with a learning disability and autism encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccine

17 February 2022

People living in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin with a learning disability and/or autism are being encouraged by NHS doctors to get their COVID-19 vaccines if they haven’t already had them.

People living with a learning disability or autism are more likely to catch COVID-19 and become very ill as a result.

At Oak Farm, Ditton Priors, a working farm managed by local charity, Bethphage,  operates as a day opportunity for adults with learning disabilities, providing training and work experience in horticulture and agriculture, vaccination has helped workers get back on the farm doing the things they love – such as being involved in the farm, looking after the animals and plants, and getting involved in all the activities the farm has to offer.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic the facility had to close and then later they had to reduce the number of sessions people could attend due to social distancing. Vaccination has enabled people supported by Oak Farm to get back to the farm and see their friends, as well as attend more sessions per week.

Elliott Clee, 25, a worker at Oak Farm, said: “I had COVID and it knocked me off my feet. Now I have had the vaccine, I can get back to doing all the things that I like to do at the farm. Like building stuff like bird boxes, wreathes and Christmas cards.”

Ceri Burgess, Oak Farm Service Manager, said: “Now that our workers have had their COVID-19 jabs, it is fantastic to see them back on the farm. We are now able to do the activities that had been on hold for quite a long time, and we can reintroduce workshops in bigger groups. It’s great to get people back seeing their friends, the animals and doing the things they really enjoy.”

This video describes the impact COVID-19 vaccination has had on Oak Farm giving a message encouraging people with learning disability and autism to get their COVID vaccination whether it is their 1st, 2nd or booster jab.

People with learning disabilities are one of the vulnerable groups that have been targeted to get the COVID-19 Vaccine in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Val Walsh, Lead for Learning Disabilities and Autism at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, added:It is extremely important to us to ensure the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are accessible to everyone.

“It is essential that people with learning disabilities and autism have access to the vaccine and if necessary, we make as many reasonable adjustments as we can to ensure they can access the vaccine as quickly as possible and be offered it in environments that enables them to be supported.

“We are working hard as a health and care system to identify people with learning disabilities and autism to get their Covid vaccination as soon as possible. We want the environment at the vaccination centres, walk-ins or pop-ups to be friendly, calm and welcoming.”

Vaccination clinics are open to anyone age 12 or over who need a first, second, third dose or booster of the COVID-19 vaccine. All sessions are open to anyone with a learning disability or autism in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. Teams at the vaccination sites are trained to provide the vaccines in a calm and friendly environment.

More information about COVID-19 booster vaccines can be found in this easy read format.

For more information, or to check the walk-in or pop-up clinic times, visit the website.

Page last updated 17 February 2022