International research has shown that adults with Down syndrome are at significantly greater risk of serious illness or mortality if they contract Covid-19. Down Syndrome Australia (DSA) has been in regular communication with the Government regarding our concerns about the increased risk faced by people with Down syndrome. This has included sharing relevant research with the Advisory Committee for the Covid-19 Response for People with Disability and raising the importance of early access to the vaccine when it became available.
Earlier this month the Australian Government announced Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine roll out strategy. We are pleased that the Government has prioritised access to the vaccine for people with a disability. According to the stated strategy, people with a disability who are in a residential facility will receive the vaccine as part of ‘Phase 1a’ at the same time as frontline workers. All other people with a disability (including people with Down syndrome) will have access to the Vaccine in Phase 1b (which is the second priority group). We are pleased that the Government has recognised the increased risk faced by people with disability and have appropriately prioritised the rollout of the vaccine for these groups.
It is important that accessible information is provided to people with disability and their families about how to access the vaccine. Easy Read materials should be available to people with Down syndrome to assist them in making informed choices about vaccination.
We will be monitoring the situation regarding the vaccine roll out and will provide up to date information to our community as it becomes available.
Additional information about the safety of the vaccine for people with Down syndrome is available from the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group USA. If you have specific questions about your own medical circumstances, you should address these to your health professional.