Latest information about COVID-19 and Down syndrome
Seeking help for COVID-19
If you are sick and think you have symptoms of COVID-19, seek medical advice, and get tested. If you want to talk to someone about your symptoms or if you need information about COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines call the National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080.
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.
To use the Disability Gateway, go to their website or call 1800 643 787.
COVID-19 and people with Down syndrome
The Australian Government Department of Health says that some people with disability will be at greater risk of more serious illness if infected by Coronavirus. Reasons for this include chronic conditions or a weakened immune system.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention includes Down syndrome on the list of underlying medical conditions that can make people more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.
Information about COVID-19 and its variants for the general population also applies to people with Down syndrome. This includes information on symptoms, how the disease is spread, protection and vaccinations, and treatment.
You can keep up to date with the latest information on COVID-19 in Australia here: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation provides regular updates on information about COVID-19 and risk for people with Down syndrome.
From The Global Down Syndrome Foundation:
- 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 and Center for Disease Control 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 National Institutes of Health and Center for Disease Control:
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 National Institutes of Health and Center for Disease Control precautions should be considered. You can read about those precautions on the National Institutes of Health and Center for Disease Control government websites.
3. Extra precautions to consider based on research
There is research from the Center for Disease Control 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 hospitalisation. 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.
Down’s Syndrome Association (UK)
The Down’s Syndrome Association has a range of resources about COVID-19 and Down syndrome.
Visit the Down’s Syndrome Association website here.
World Health Organisation
The World Health Organisation provides accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19.
Visit the World Health Organisation website here.
Making a COVID-19 plan
People with disability need a plan that is tailored to their unique support needs.
Collaborating 4 Inclusion has developed a planning guide to help people with disability to get the facts about COVID-19 and make a plan for how they will manage the impact of this situation.
Read the COVID-19 planning guide here.