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Bespoke booster clinics for adults with a learning disability

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Adults with a learning disability are to be offered a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a series of bespoke sessions next month, in what for many will be familiar surroundings.

A bespoke vaccination hub will operate over two weekends in November at the Greenfield Park / Tall Trees complex in Strang, which provides a range of day services for adults with a learning disability (LD). Booster vaccination clinics will run at the site between 9.30am and 3pm on:

  • Saturday 13 Nov 2021
  • Sunday 14 Nov 2021
  • Saturday 20 Nov 2021
  • Sunday 21 Nov 2021

The sessions will follow a similar format to that provided for the adult LD community in March this year, with the same location chosen because of its familiarity among those who regularly enjoy the activities and support provided there, and to lessen feelings of anxiety about having a vaccination.

Booster COVID-19 vaccinations are offered from six months after the second dose and it is hoped all those who had their first two doses in the spring will come forward for a top-up dose, to prolong their immunity from coronavirus during the winter.

To be eligible to receive the booster vaccination, the adult with a learning disability:

  • must be over 18 years of age
  • must have already received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine
  • must have received the second vaccine at least 6 months ago*
  • must not have had a positive test for Covid-19 within the previous 28 days

Health and Social Care Minister Lawrie Hooper MHK said:

‘The hub has been specifically set up to meet the needs of adults with a learning disability in a calm, comfortable and safe space, where staff can make reasonable adjustments to meet individual needs, and offer flexibility around vaccination arrangements. I thank all involved for their commitment in making this happen.

The Minister added:

’The COVID-19 vaccination programme has helped prevent people becoming seriously ill, needing a hospital bed or dying from the disease. The rollout of booster vaccines is the latest, vital stage in the programme, as the protection we get from vaccines fades over time. I urge all those eligible for a top-up vaccination to take up the offer of a booster without delay.’

The vaccination team is keen to reach all eligible adults with learning disabilities, including those who live in the community and don’t use LD services.

Vaccination booster appointments can be made from Monday 1 November by calling the booking team on 698326 or 685102 between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Friday. Appointments can be arranged by the person themself or by a relative or carer on their behalf.

The booking team will go through some important questions and provide the person or their representative with initial information before confirming a date and time for the vaccination. The person will then receive a letter or email confirmation, with the relevant forms and some useful information attached.

If the person having the vaccine is unable to consent for themselves, they will require a new clinician’s Best Interest form to be completed by their GP. Forms used previously cannot be used for the booster. If there is any doubt about the person’s capacity to consent to vaccination at their appointment, and the person is not in possession of a completed Best Interest form, the vaccination will not go ahead.

While it is expected most people will prefer to attend the Greenfield Park hub, they can choose to attend one of the larger community hubs for their vaccination by calling 111.

Any questions or concerns should be directed to the booking team or any member of the Adult Learning Disability Management Team on 618520.

More information

*The exception to the 6 month period would be if the individual was classed as severely immunosuppressed. In this case, they would be able to have a third dose of the vaccine, providing they have had their second vaccine more than 8 weeks ago. The booking team can advise on this.

Severely immunosuppressed patient groups eligible for the third dose are listed on the Vaccination Schedule page.

Patients who meet the criteria should contact 111 to arrange an assessment by a clinician and appropriate timing for a third dose to be administered.