Vaccinating people with Down syndrome

Vaccinating people with Down syndrome

Vaccinating people with Down syndrome

Recent research has concluded that Covid-19 vaccines are safe for people suffering from Down syndrome, a condition in which a child is born with an extra copy of his 21st chromosome.

Also called Trisomy 21, Down syndrome results in physical and mental developmental delays and disabilities. Many of the disabilities are lifelong, and they can also shorten life expectancy.

The Trisomy 21 Research Society (T21RS) conducted a survey to collect information from nearly 2,000 individuals with Down syndrome to determine their response to vaccination. All the participants were 12 years old or above in age.

The results showed that the majority of the participants experienced either no reaction or only mild symptoms such as pain or redness at the injection site, or tiredness after the vaccination. These are common reactions that also occur in the general population.

Even when the participants experienced symptoms due to the vaccination, in a vast majority (95% plus) of cases, the symptoms resolved on their own and the participants did not require any medical care.


The vaccines appeared to be safe to use in both young people (12 – 17 years) and adults (18 and older) with Down syndrome. The survey also showed that the vaccines help to protect people with Down syndrome from developing severe Covid-19 illness.

A small number of the participants – 14 people or 0.8% – contracted Covid-19 after vaccination and more than half of these infections – eight in total– occurred between the first and second dose of the vaccine, ie, before the participants were fully vaccinated.

Of these 14 participants, only two – both of which had had vaccination only once – were admitted to hospital. All of those who contracted Covid-19 after either full or partial vaccination recovered.

It has been well established that the people with Down syndrome have more severe disease when they are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Such studies have estimated that individuals with Down syndrome have a 5-fold higher risk for hospitalization, and between 3 to 10-fold higher risks for death when they develop Covid-19, with higher risk of death among elderly individuals with Down syndrome.

In many countries, having Down syndrome has been designated as a priority condition for vaccination.


These new data show that the vaccine appears to be safe and effective in people with Down syndrome, and provide evidence that vaccination will help protect them from becoming severely ill with Covid-19. The Trisomy 21 Research Society strongly supports vaccination prioritization and booster vaccination of people with Down syndrome.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), about 1 in 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome. It’s the most common genetic disorder in the United States. People with Down syndrome tend to have certain distinctive facial features. They also experience some degree of intellectual disability, which can vary from mild to moderate.

Down syndrome is not a disease, it is a genetic condition and in the majority of cases, children grow up to lead healthy and productive lives. They perform their daily tasks the way other children do, according to the Aga Khan University Hospital website.

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