Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination resources for service users with Learning Disabilities and Serious Mental Illnesses (SMI).

image of nurse looking at camera with text reading vaccinations protect us all

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives the best protection against coronavirus.

1.  Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The NHS is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone aged 12 years old and over, including people with learning disabilities and people with severe mental health illnesses (SMI).

2. Where is the COVID-19 vaccine being offered?

In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. Visit our web page for all the clinics available

3. How can I support service users to book their vaccination?

Please let your service users know that they do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS. They can book appointments at a larger vaccination centres, a pharmacy that provides COVID-19 vaccinations or a drop-in clinic. You can book your appointment on the NHS website here or find the latest drop--in clinics available nearest to you on our web page

Additional support is also available for people with a disability or a serious mental illness where required. If you have any concerns, please contact the person’s GP in the first instance to request additional support for the vaccination.


4. What other information can I share with my service users?

Public Health England has produced a range of accessible leaflets for you to give to your service users.

Easy read - vaccination guide (PHE)

Easy read - pregnancy and vaccination (PHE)

Easy read - what to expect following the vaccination (PHE)

Equally Well UK has produced a guide on the vaccination for people with severe mental illness (SMI) and their carers: COVID-19 vaccine guide for those with SMI and their carers (Equally Well UK)

Mencap has produced a leaflet on vaccine reasonable adjustments: Vaccine reasonable adjustments (Mencap)


5. What additional resources are available?

We have developed some additional resources to help you have conversations with your service users, which can be found below.

  • A Makaton video made by our Speech and Language Therapists, Sam and Louise, can be accessed here. They reassure about the safety of the vaccine and explain the process for having a vaccination.

  • An NHS video with information about the COVID-19 vaccine for people with a learning disability and autistic people can be accessed here. It explains what the virus is and goes through the vaccination process.

  • A video of Joanne Finney, who has Down’s syndrome and is a Grapevine Trustee, can be accessed here. She talks about her experience of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • A video of Dr David Spraggett speaking to Grapevine Trustee Joanne Finney and answering some commonly-asked questions about COVID-19 vaccinations. This can be accessed here.

  • Keepsafe has developed a vaccine webpage, which includes videos and clear information in easy-read and audio formats on the vaccine, the process of having the vaccine and discussing concerns service users may have, which can be found here.

  • Mencap has a page on their website dedicated to COVID-19 information which can be found here. It includes easy read guides about the vaccine, asking for extra support and vaccine FAQs.

  • Mind has developed a vaccine webpage to help support service users which can be found here

  • NHS England & Improvement recently recorded a podcast to support colleagues in local systems to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to people with a learning disability and autistic people in an at-risk group. It can be found here.

  • Rethink Mental Illness has created a webpage with information on the vaccine for people living with severe mental illness (SMI). It can be viewed here.

  • The Public Mental Health team at Public Health England has developed a series of short videos on COVID-19 vaccination to support and encourage people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) to get their COVID-19 vaccines, and for promotion with GPs and healthcare professionals:

    • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine: Personal experience guide part 1 for people with severe mental illness can be viewed here.

    • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine: Personal experience guide part 2 for people with severe mental illness can be viewed here.

    • COVID-19 vaccination: A guide for GPs and teams to support people with severe mental illness can be viewed here.


Hannah Brendan Ian