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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Information on COVID-19 Booster Shots from the Adult Down Syndrome Center

October 2021 | Brian Chicoine, MD, Erin Dominiak, MD, and Hannah Graham, MD - Adult Down Syndrome Center

UPDATED 11/22/2021

The CDC expanded the list of people who may get a booster to include people age 18 years and older who received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

UPDATED 10/29/2021

In October 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the recommendations for booster shots of the 3 COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States. The CDC recommends booster vaccines for some individuals based on age, residence, occupation, certain medical conditions (including Down syndrome), and initial COVID-19 vaccine received. 


A large percentage of people with Down syndrome who come to the Adult Down Syndrome Center have received COVID-19 vaccines. We have received very little report of side effects and no reports of serious side effects from the vaccines. We have been pleased to see far fewer cases of COVID-19 among our patients since the COVID-19 vaccines became available. 

Despite the success of COVID-19 vaccines, we are concerned about the potential for waning immunity in individuals with Down syndrome. Based on previous studies indicating people with Down syndrome are at greater risk from complications from COVID-19 infection (for example, the article linked here), the providers at the Adult Down Syndrome Center encourage individuals with Down syndrome to continue to reduce their risk of severe COVID-19 infection by wearing masks, social distancing, performing good hand hygiene, and getting vaccinated for COVID-19, including a booster dose as soon as it is appropriate and available.

Based on the CDC recommendations, we will discuss COVID-19 booster shots with our patients and their families, including contraindications to the vaccine. The primary contraindication to getting another dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose. If there are no contraindications, we will recommend COVID-19 booster shots for our patients as per the CDC recommendations noted above. In addition, to protect the physicians and staff at the Adult Down Syndrome Center, we will recommend the booster to all who work at the Center. We want to reduce the risk of the team at the Center being out ill and not available to our patients and to also reduce the risk of spreading the virus to our patients who come to see us at the Center.

For information about scheduling a booster vaccination at an Advocate Aurora Health site, please see this site.

*A note about the CDC age recommendations: The CDC says that those 18-49 years of age with certain underlying medical conditions (including Down syndrome) may receive a booster. The Trisomy 21 Research Society study on Down syndrome and COVID-19 infection concluded that a 40-year-old with Down syndrome has a similar risk for complications from COVID-19 infection as an 80-year-old without Down syndrome. Therefore, we will certainly recommend a booster shot for our patients with Down syndrome who are 40-49 years of age. The study also found higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection in people with Down syndrome age 40 years or younger with certain co-occurring health conditions such as history of congenital heart disease, obesity, and others. Since people with Down syndrome more frequently have these risk factors, we will also recommend the booster for those in the 18-40 years of age group. 

*A note about choosing a COVID-19 booster shots: The CDC's recommendations now allow mixing (receiving a booster shot that is a different type than the vaccine originally received) or matching (receiving a booster shot that is the same type as the vaccine originally received). Available data show that there aren't safety concerns with either option. However, the CDC has not yet made a recommendation regarding which option is more effective.

If a person experiences COVID-19 infection after being fully vaccinated, can they get the booster dose?
Yes. According to the CDC, eligible people who get COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated can receive a booster dose. 
How soon after COVID-19 infection can they get the booster?
According to the CDC, they should wait until they have recovered from illness (if they have symptoms) and have met criteria to discontinue isolation. If the person received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of their COVID-19 treatment, they should wait at least 90 days before getting the booster. 

Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.