The Covid-19 vaccine is currently being given to people in Wales who are most at risk from coronavirus. Here’s what we know about when people with a learning disability in Wales are expected to receive the vaccine.


Some details of the vaccine roll out are still being clarified by Welsh Government and Public Health Wales. This page will be updated with the latest information and advice as soon as it is made available.

Last updated: 14 January 2021


About the Covid-19 vaccine

Vaccines are safe, effective and save lives.

Vaccines teach your immune system how to protect you from diseases. It’s much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases and attempting to treat them.

Three COVID-19 vaccines have now been approved as safe and effective for use in Wales:The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; The AstraZeneca vaccine (also called the Oxford vaccine); The Moderna vaccine.

The first coronavirus vaccine to be approved was the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine was tested in a trial of over 40,000 adults, and was found to be 95% effective after two doses. It was effective for all groups of people in the trial.

The vaccine will be provided free through the NHS. It is given as an injection into your upper arm. It’s given as two doses, 12 weeks apart.

You can find out more about the vaccine in the helpful FAQ on the Public Health Wales website.

When will I get the Covid-19 vaccine?

To help protect those who need it the most, the vaccine is being offered to people at highest risk from coronavirus first. As more amounts of the vaccine become available, it will be offered to other people. 

What are the priority groups?

There are 9 priority groups: people in Priority Group 1 will get the vaccine first, then people in Priority Group 2, and so on until people in Priority Group 9. After that the vaccine will be offered to everyone else in Wales (that is all the people not in priority groups 1 to 9).

The current priority list for the vaccine is as follows:

  1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. All people 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. All people 75 years of age and over
  4. All people 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. All people 65 years of age and over
  6. All people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. All people 60 years of age and over
  8. All people 55 years of age and over
  9. All people 50 years of age and over

On Monday 11 January Welsh Government announced that people in the first 4 priority groups will have their first dose by mid-February this year. People in all priority groups will have their first dose by the spring of this year.

When will adults with Down’s syndrome get the vaccine?

Adults with Down’s syndrome were added to the list of people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (previously known as shielding) in November 2020. So adults with Down’s syndrome will receive the vaccine along with other people in Priority Group 4.

Will children and young people with Down’s syndrome under 18 get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Children with Down’s syndrome aged 16-18 years old will get the Covid-19 vaccine, and are included in Priority Group 6.

From the Public Health Wales website: “Some at-risk young people may be considered for vaccination but as it stands, children are not a high-risk group as they are not generally badly affected by COVID-19”. Because of this there are currently no plans for children with Down’s syndrome under the age of 16 years old getting the vaccine.

When will adults with a learning disability get the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Learning Disability Consortium are working with Welsh Government and Public Health Wales to establish if all people with a learning disability are in Priority Group 6, if they don’t already fall into a higher category (for example, because of age).

The Learning Disability Consortium is made up of: Learning Disability Wales, All Wales People First, All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers, Mencap Cymru, Down’s Syndrome Association, and Cymorth Cymru.

Adults with a severe or profound learning disability

Priority group 6 includes people in an at-risk group. The Green Book, which sets out the latest information on immunisation in the UK, outlines that an at-risk group includes: 

“individuals with cerebral palsy, severe or profound learning disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and related or similar conditions; or hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles; or severe neurological disability.”

Adults with a mild or moderate learning disability

It is currently unclear if adults with a mild or moderate learning disability will be included in a priority group. The Learning Disability Consortium is awaiting clarification from Welsh Government and Public Health Wales on this.

However, The Green Book does state that all adults with a learning disability who live in residential care are eligible. See below.

Adults with a learning disability living in a residential care setting

The Green Book gives the following advice for younger adults with a learning disability who live in a residential care setting:

Many younger adults in residential care settings will be eligible for vaccination because they fall into one of the clinical risk groups above (for example learning disabilities). Given the likely high risk of exposure in these settings, where a high proportion of the population would be considered eligible, vaccination of the whole resident population is recommended.”

Adults with a learning disability living in supported living

It is currently unclear if adults with a learning disability who live in supported living will be included in a priority group – if they don’t already fall into a higher category (for example, because of age).

We are working with Welsh Government and Public Health Wales to establish if adults with a learning disability in supported living will be included in Priority Group 6.

Will children and young people with a learning disability under the age of 18 get the Covid-19 vaccine?

From the Public Health Wales website: “Some at-risk young people may be considered for vaccination but as it stands, children are not a high-risk group as they are not generally badly affected by COVID-19”. Because of this there are currently no plans of children and young people with a learning disability under the age of 18 years old getting the vaccine.

When will social care staff get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Social care staff are in Priority Group 2, and are currently being vaccinated.

Will unpaid carers get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Yes. Adult carers in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, will get the Covid-19 vaccine. Unpaid carers are in Priority Group 6 – if they don’t already fall into a higher category (for example, because of age).

We understand that unpaid carers will be recognised through their GP surgery. So unpaid carers are being encouraged to register as a carer with their GP surgery, if they haven’t done so already.

What about consent?

Welsh Government are developing guidance around consent for the vaccine. We are asking Welsh Government to ensure this information is available in accessible formats.

How will I find out when and where I can get the vaccine?

You will be sent a letter about the vaccine, where to go and what to do on the day so you can get vaccinated in a convenient, safe setting.

If you are in one of the initial priority groups and eligible for the vaccine, you’ll be invited to attend a dedicated vaccination centre, which will have been set up to ensure your safety and that of the healthcare professionals who treat you.

There are also plans in place for people who are housebound and for care homes, which will mean the vaccine can be safely taken to them using a mobile service if they are unable to attend a GP surgery or mass vaccination centre. All eligible adults in the priority groups will be invited to make an appointment through NHS systems. 

Please do not contact your GP or other services asking about availability of the vaccine.

Will there be easy read information about the vaccine?

Yes. Easy read information about the Covid-19 vaccine is currently being produced by Learning Disability Wales for Public Health Wales. We will include the easy read guides here as soon as they are ready.

Where can I find more information about the Covid-19 vaccine?

You can find out more about the vaccine in this helpful FAQ on the Public Health Wales website.

You can also find lots of useful information about coronavirus for people with a learning disability, including easy read information, on our coronavirus resources page.