How to get support if you need a little extra help to have the Covid-19 vaccine

People who have learning disabilities or a mental health condition can have their vaccination experience made easier for them. Healthwatch and the local clinical commissioning group put on a webinar to explain extra support or help that's available.
Making it easier for everyone to have the Covid-19 vaccine Healthwatch and BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group webinar

Healthwatch Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire’s Area Manager, Vicky Marriott, chaired the event, which aimed to help people get more information about the vaccine, and presented questions from the public to the panel of health professionals, many involved with the local Covid-19 vaccination roll-out. Around 130 people attended the event on February 10th.

All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions, that put them at higher risk (which includes those with learning disabilities and paid and unpaid carers) will be called to have the vaccine over the next few weeks. How this group will be managed is still being planned – with more information to come. 

Staff at Ashton Gate share how they are making the vaccinations easier for people  on the video below. 


Staff at Ashton Gate explain how adjustments have been made.

How the vaccination process can be adjusted if you need some extra support

Shaun Langford, who is on the learning disability team at Sirona said people with autism or learning disabilities could attend the vaccination centre with their carer for support. They can also be met by a member of staff at the vaccination site or a member of St John’s Ambulance who can help find them a quiet space if they struggle with queues or noise or need reassurance.

Although people can book online there isn't an option on the form to let staff know you may need some extra time or help. If you need extra support the Ashton Gate centre will be able to assist you - and you do not need to notify them in advance.

However, if you are going to your GP surgery for your vaccine - the advice is to ring them in advance to explain your requirements. A Bristol North Somerset, South Glos clinical commissioning group spokesman said: "Whilst all practices are unique and may not have specific rooms designated as quiet pods, if contacted beforehand they should be able to make adjustments and will be able to discuss this with the patient/carer and let them know what can be achieved and how they can help."

Hidden Disability Sunflower Scheme

The North Bristol Trust and Ashton Gate vaccination centre also recognises the Hidden Disability Sunflower lanyard scheme which is a way for staff to appreciate that the wearers might need reassurance or a bit more time. This includes conditions like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia or diabetes. Most supermarkets (Tesco and Sainsbury's) have the lanyard available free of charge as it also means a person with a hidden disability can get help with their shopping. More information on the scheme here:

To get more Easy Read Information and to read about giving consent for the vaccine for those who might struggle to do so, the Mencap website can be reached here:

There is also more Easy Read information on this Keep Safe website here:

Do you have concerns about getting to the vaccination centre?

See our transport guide here:

Information about the vaccine in British Sign Language

The latest Covid-19 Vaccination Questions and Answers provided by Healthier Together which is managing the roll-out here: mass vac page

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