Latest information about COVID-19 and Down syndrome

Latest information about COVID-19 and Down syndrome thumbnail.

Latest information about COVID-19 and Down syndrome

Information about COVID-19 is available on the Department of Health website. 

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 the Gateway website or call 1800 643 787.

Antiviral treatments

Seek early medical advice if you test positive

There are now antiviral treatments approved for use in Australia for people at high risk of severe disease. This includes people with Down syndrome.

It is important that antivirals are given early, within the first few days of infection. These antiviral treatments need to be started as soon as possible after symptoms of COVID-19 begin, to lower the risk of severe disease.

Seek advice from a medical professional early to discuss antiviral treatment if someone with Down syndrome tests positive for COVID-19.

Find out more on the Department of Health website.

The Department of Health has an Easy Read guide on COVID-19 medicines.

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 on the Department of Health COVID-19 alert

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation provides regular updates about COVID-19 and risks for people with Down syndrome.

The COVID-19 & Down Syndrome Resource is an international resource for people with Down syndrome and their families.

From The Global Down Syndrome Foundation:

  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 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.

Visit the Global Down Syndrome Association website

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

Healthdirect information about COVID-19

Healthdirect provides up-to-date COVID-19 information. Find out about symptoms, testing, what to do if you have COVID-19, and more.

Visit COVID Clarity on the HealthDirect website

World Health Organisation 

The World Health Organisation provides accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19.

Visit the World Health Organisation website.

Last updated: 15 March 2022