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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

May 2023 | Brian Chicoine, MD, Erin Dominiak, MD, and Hannah Graham, MD - Adult Down Syndrome Center

We are in the process of updating this resource. Please see the CDC website for the current recommendations.

UPDATED May 10, 2023

The physicians of the Adult Down Syndrome Center recommend that individuals with Down syndrome ages 12 years and older who do not have a contraindication follow the recommendations of the CDC and stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations by getting at least one updated Pfizer or Moderna (bivalent) booster. 

Should individuals with Down syndrome get a second dose of the updated (bivalent) vaccine?

Recently, the CDC provided the following guidance:

  • People aged 65 years and older may get 1 additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine 4 or more months after the 1st updated COVID-19 vaccine.

  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get 1 additional dose of updated COVID-19 vaccine 2 or more months after the 1st updated COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about additional updated doses.

Despite demonstration of some relative immune impairment in some people with Down syndrome, Down syndrome by itself is not included in the CDC’s “moderately to severely immunocompromised" category. However, there are certain groups of people that the CDC identifies as being at greater risk for complications from COVID-19 infection. One of the groups is individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Additional factors to consider include:

  • Overall health. Does the individual with Down syndrome have several health conditions that may increase their risk of complications from COVID-19 infection? 

  • Risk of getting COVID-19 in your community. The CDC provides county-based data to help you determine how likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19 in your area. 

  • Timing of the 2nd updated vaccine. We have seen an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases during the fall and winter months of the pandemic. For some individuals, waiting to get the 2nd updated vaccine until later in the summer (in order to have greater immunity going into the fall and winter) may be an appropriate option. 

We are discussing the CDC guidance and the additional factors described above with individuals with Down syndrome who come to our clinic. As with most of the information we share in our Resource Library, the decision may vary from one person to the next, and we recommend that individuals with Down syndrome and their families discuss the vaccine with their healthcare provider. 


Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

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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.