A MOTHER whose son has severe epilepsy and learning disabilities said he “desperately” needs to have the Covid-19 vaccine.

Jo Fisher from Angmering is living “on a knife edge” in fear that her son Bradley, 27, will catch coronavirus and bring it into the care home where he lives in Caterham, Surrey.

Bradley, who is autistic and has cerebral palsy as well as epilepsy, was admitted to hospital 15 times during the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year due to seizures.

Jo and Bradley’s sister Jade could not accompany him to hospital due to restrictions and he was unable to come home for family visits.

The Argus: Jo's son Bradley, who has severe epilepsy, cerebral palsy and learning disabilitiesJo's son Bradley, who has severe epilepsy, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities

Jo said: “It was extremely difficult for my son and for us because we always attend hospital with him. Bradley is non-verbal and he needs to know we’re there for him.

“He survived the first wave but we’re now in the grips of the second wave and I fear for his life as he’s at significant risk.

“He desperately needs this vaccine.”

Jo is campaigning for people with learning disabilities and complex needs to be given greater priority for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Currently, individuals aged between 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk are sixth on the list of priority groups.

The Argus: Jade and BradleyJade and Bradley

A recent report published by Public Health England revealed that people with a learning disability have died from Covid-19 at more than six times the rate of the general population.

Jo said: “The facts speak for themselves. Many of our learning disability community have additional health needs and are at higher risk but it appears the government aren’t listening or they don’t care.

“Until Bradley has this vaccine we can’t see him safely as the risks are too great and he’s missing us dreadfully. It breaks our hearts.

“Every day I worry I’m going to get the dreaded phone call to say Covid-19 is in the home or Bradley’s got the virus.

"If he gets sick and we can’t be there this would destroy me.”

Edel Harris, chief executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “Despite knowing early on that people with a learning disability were being disproportionately affected by the crisis – the government has failed to produce guidance that adequately considers their needs.

“Health inequalities can no longer be ignored. This change must start with prioritising people with a learning disability for the Covid-19 vaccine.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised the government on the groups which should receive the Covid-19 vaccine first, and priority has been given to the over-80s and care home workers.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chairman for JCVI said: “The advice on Covid-19 vaccine prioritisation was developed with the aim of preventing as many deaths as possible. As the single greatest risk of death from Covid-19 is older age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.”

Jo is campaigning in support of a petition for people with a learning disability to be given greater priority for the Covid-19 vaccine.

To read and sign the petition, visit the Change.org page.