Children and adults with learning disabilities are clearly identified as a clinically ‘at risk’ group, eligible for a free flu vaccine as part of the national flu vaccine programme. Carers (family member or support worker) are also eligible to help protect the people they look after.
To ensure you and the person you care for can get flu vaccinations in an accessible way, you can use this letter created by NHS England and NHS Improvement (South West Region) to send to your GP to argue your case.
What your Health and Social Care organisations should provide people with learning disabilities and their cares:
- Carers can get a free flu vaccination as well as health and social care workers.
- Put reasonable adjustments in place to help people with learning disabilities have their flu vaccination. This could be extra time, photo cards or an accompanying friend.
- Ask about offering of a nasal spray flu vaccine as a reasonable adjustment. PHE guidance outlines the nasal spray can be used for people with a severe needle phobia. The nasal vaccine is not as effective as the injection, but some protection is better than none.
- Capitalise on attendance and ask about offering the pneumococcal vaccine within the same appointment.
Accessible resources on getting flu vaccines
- Accessible information: The NHS England and NHS Improvement learning disability and autism programme have worked with self-advocacy group, Ace Anglia, GP and pharmacy colleagues to produce a range of accessible resources that will support improved engagement with people with a learning disability and autistic people in the flu vaccination program.
- Large print, braille, BSL and 25 translations of these leaflets and posters have been commissioned about the flu vaccine: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flu-vaccination-leaflets-and-posters
- Public Health England have a suite of easy read materials for use that have been updated this year for people with a learning disability including how to protect themselves from flu and receiving a flu vaccination during a pandemic.
- Flu vaccination films for people with a learning disability and autistic people and their family carers. Two short films about the importance of the flu vaccination for people with a learning disability and autistic people with certain health conditions. The film covers why it is important, who is eligible for a free vaccine, where you can get the vaccine and reasonable adjustments. Also available for use is the Misfits Theatre Group – Guide to flu vaccinations video titled: Don’t let anything stop you.
- PHE publications
- Flu vaccination: who should have it this winter and why?
- Flu vaccination: easy read flu vaccination resources
- Flu vaccination for adults and children: simple text version