Back in February
, we campaigned alongside other groups and individuals for all people with learning disabilities to be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine. Recent figures from Public Health England show that people with learning disabilities are more likely to die from coronavirus than the general population; for 18-34 year old adults with a learning disability, the coronavirus death rate was 30 times higher than the general population. Despite this, many have not been prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine since its rollout in December 2020. This was unacceptable. 

Over 9000 people wrote to their MP about this issue – and they listened. On 24th February, we celebrated the news that ALL people with learning disabilities will be invited to receive the coronavirus vaccine as priority. A huge thank you to Mencap, Jo Whiley, Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, Richard Keagan-Bull, and so many others who campaigned to make this possible. Together we can drive change. 


Covid has been a window for a much bigger issue” 

Following the change of policy, our National Leader spoke to UBC radio, discussing how Covid has magnified a long existent health inequality; statistically, people with learning disabilities have ALWAYS suffered poorer mental and physical health. “It’s always been the case that for people with learning disabilities, if they end up in hospital the outcome will be worse”, he told UCB, “in fact Covid has made visible that there’s some sort of marginalisation of people with learning disabilities, built into our system”.  

Whilst the battle for health and social equality for people with learning disabilities is far from over, John reiterated that L’Arche can be the vehicle for wider social change, beyond Covid: “L’Arche is at the forefront of a movement that allows people to flourish physically, emotionally, spiritually by sharing lives, homes and friendships in community.” 

As we slowly start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and life after Covid is edging nearer, we are committed to continuing the fight against health inequality.  

Listen to the full conversation here