Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
This page has information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) that may be helpful to people with Down syndrome and their families.
Please visit each website regularly for updated advice and resources.
If you are concerned about your health or need the latest COVID-19 advice, you can contact the Department of Health Information Line.
Where to get advice about Coronavirus
National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline
The Australian Department of Health has a helpline to respond to your enquiries. Call this line if you are looking for information or advice on
- Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- COVID-19 vaccines
- or help with the COVIDSafe app.
You can call the Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
You can also make an online enquiry at COVID-19 vaccine enquiries
Disability Gateway – COVID-19
The Disability Gateway has information and services to help people with disability, their family, friends and carers, to find the support they need in Australia. You can contact the Disability Gateway to get information and advice about COVID-19 or to be referred to other support services including counselling and advocacy.
The Disability Gateway phone line is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm AEDT.
To use the Disability Gateway, go to the Disability Gateway website or call 1800 643 787.
Down Syndrome Australia resources
COVID-19 and Down syndrome
Down syndrome is included on the list of underlying medical conditions that can make people more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation website has information about Coronavirus and risk for people with Down syndrome.
Please note that this information refers to US Agencies and resources, but the general information is helpful.
The COVID-19 & Down Syndrome Resource has information about:
- What to think about when considering the COVID-19 vaccine
- How to support mental health challenges during the ongoing pandemic
- What we have learned about the virus that may be unique to people with Down syndrome
- How to help stop the spread of the virus and stay safe
- Things to consider when making decisions to participate in activities.
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation Info Sheet has the following information:
1. Are all people with Down syndrome “High Risk”?
While there is no evidence about how people with Down syndrome are affected by coronavirus versus the typical population, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) have categorized certain groups of people as “high risk” in terms of how coronavirus can negatively affect their health:
a. Older adults
b. People who have serious chronic medical conditions like: Heart disease, Diabetes, Obesity, Lung disease, and/or Respiratory Difficulties
2. Some Precautions to Consider from the NIH & CDC:
We do know that people with Down syndrome are more likely than typical people to have such chronic medical conditions listed above, and as such, following the NIH and CDC precautions should be considered. You can read about those precautions on the NIH and CDC government websites. For individuals considered “high risk” the websites both recommend “Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships” amongst many other recommendations.
3. Extra Precautions to Consider Based on Research
There is research from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics that points to people with Down syndrome being more likely to develop complications due to respiratory viral infections including H1N1 and RSV, and increased rates of hospitalization. Given this research, if you as an individual with Down syndrome, your child with Down syndrome, or your dependent adult with Down syndrome has a respiratory infection, is just recovering from a respiratory infection, has chronic respiratory issues or pulmonary viral infections, you may want to consider taking the same precautions that would apply to someone who is “high risk.”
The Down’s Syndrome Association (UK)
The Down’s Syndrome Association (UK) has an information page about COVID-19 and Down syndrome.
Visit the Down’s Syndrome Association (UK) website here.
The National Down Syndrome Society (US)
The National Down Syndrome Society has shared resources about COVID-19 and Down syndrome. These guides answer questions about:
- What may be unique about the virus in people with Down syndrome.
- How to help prevent the spread of the virus.
- What common symptoms are.
- What to think about when making decisions.
You can download the Question & Answer document here
Visit the National Down Syndrome Society website to download the COVID-19 & Down Syndrome Resources
Resources from other organisations
The COVID-19 Hospital Companion
The COVID-19 companion helps to convey important personal information to health professionals. People with disability can use this form to make sure health workers understand their needs.
The Hand Washing Rap video
The Hand Washing Rap is a video to help with learning to wash your hands.
Watch the Hand Washing Rap here.
Video: How to wear a fabric face mask safely
This animation video, developed by the World Health Organisation describes how to wear a fabric mask safely.
Watch How to wear a fabric mask safely here.
Coronavirus: Should you wear a mask?
The Australian Government have an Easy Read fact to help you understand how to wear and use a mask safely.
Download Coronavirus: Should you wear a mask? here.
Viruses and staying healthy from CID
Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) have published an Easy Read Guide about how to avoid getting sick from a virus.
Download Viruses and Staying healthy here.
Staying safe from Coronavirus from CID
Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) have published an Easy Read Guide about staying safe from Coronavirus.
Download Staying safe from Coronavirus here.
Keep Safe and Easy Read resources by Photosymbols (UK)
The Keep Safe website has Easy Read information and guidance about coronavirus.
Visit the Keep Safe website here.
These Easy Read posters provide simple information about Coronavirus.
COVID-19 Symptom Checker
Healthdirect Australia has developed a COVID-19 Symptom Checker. The symptom checker website asks you a series of questions to help you find out if you need medical help.
NDIS and Coronavirus
NDIS and Coronavirus information
The NDIS have an information page about Coronavirus offering information and advice about Coronavirus.
Visit the NDIS Coronavirus information page here.
Easy Read guides about Coronavirus
Every Australian Counts
Every Australian Counts have shared information for NDIS participants and families about the Coronavirus.
Visit the Every Australian Counts website here.
General Coronavirus websites and updates
The Australian Government Department of Health website
The Department of Health website COVID-19 in Australia provides up to date advice on Coronavirus. You can find information on:
Current Coronavirus status
How to protect yourself and others
Symptoms and when to get tested
If you’re concerned
World Health Organisation website
You can check the World Health Organisation’s website for accurate and up to date information about COVID-19.
Visit the World Health Organisation website here.
Last updated: 10 June 2021