Flu vaccinations for people with learning disabilities

Flu vaccinations for people with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities are eligible to receive a flu vaccination under the Community Pharmacy Flu Vaccination Advanced Service, as learning disabilities are categorised as a neurological condition. Around 1 in 3 deaths of people with a learning disability are caused by respiratory problems and the number of respiratory related deaths increases during winter. Having the flu jab can help avoid preventable deaths for people with a learning disability during this period.

A person with learning disabilities will have:

  • a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn new skills (impaired intelligence)
  • a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning)

This will have started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

This does not include conditions like dyslexia, which cause a specific difficulty with one type of skill but not a wider intellectual impairment.

People with learning disabilities are less likely to get flu if the people around them are also vaccinated; carers and care workers are eligible to receive a free flu vaccination under the NHS Flu Vaccination Service.

Public Health England (PHE) has recently updated their easy read flu resources, which are aimed at people who have, or care for someone with a learning disability. Pharmacy teams can order these resources to display in their pharmacies (information on how to order these can by found be clicking on the above link).

Suggested actions to improve uptake

  • Ensure you continue to talk to people in general about getting a flu jab so people with learning disabilities are aware that they can get an NHS flu vaccination from the pharmacy.
  • Let carers of people with a learning disability know that they are also entitled to an NHS flu vaccination to protect the person they are caring for.
  • Ensure the eligibility criteria you have displayed (on your website or in store) for the NHS Flu Vaccination Service or any patient materials include learning disabilities as an eligible group.
  • Consider the information you display in your pharmacy to promote the NHS Flu Vaccination Service to this eligible group of patients – can it be easily read and understood by all your patients?
  • Consider undertaking some learning to enhance your understanding around people with learning disabilities; the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) has a distance learning course – please see below.
  • If a person has a learning disability, annotate their PMR to indicate their eligibility for an NHS flu vaccine so you can talk to them about being vaccinated again when the service commences again in September.

Other resources

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