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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 2024 | Brian Chicoine, MD, Erin Dominiak, MD, Hannah Graham, MD, and Farah Chaus, MD - Adult Down Syndrome Center



The physicians at 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 opens in new window and stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations by getting at least one updated Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax vaccine. 

According to the CDC:

  • For people who have never received a COVID-19 vaccine or have not yet had the updated 2023-2024 vaccine, the CDC recommends getting a COVID-19 2023-2024 updated vaccination (one dose for those 5 years or older and multiple doses for those 6 months to 4 years).

  • For people over age 65 who received the 2023-2024 updated COVID-19 vaccine in the fall of 2023 or winter of 2024, the CDC recommends getting an additional dose in the spring/summer of 2024. It should be given at least 4 months after the dose in the fall/winter.

  • For those younger than 65 years of age who are immunocompromised and previously received COVID-19 vaccines, only one dose of the 2023-2024 updated COVID-19 vaccine is recommended. More doses are recommended for people who were not previously immunized.

    • People with Down syndrome are generally considered to be immunocompromised and at higher risk when exposed to respiratory infections. In addition, people with disabilities as a whole are considered more at risk for COVID-19 infection.

  • For those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (which can include people with Down syndrome) and over age 65, the second dose of the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine can be given as soon as 2 months after the first.


Why is it important for people with Down syndrome to get COVID-19 vaccines?

Previous studies have shown that individuals with Down syndrome and people with any intellectual disability have an increased vulnerability to COVID-19 infection. This includes the likelihood of getting COVID-19 infection and dying from COVID-19 infection.

In addition, previous studies by Valentini et al. (2022) and Huls et al. (2022) have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in people with Down syndrome. 

study in the United Kingdom opens in new window published in January 2024 showed that not getting the full complement of recommended vaccines for COVID-19 is associated with an elevated risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes (hospitalization or death). This study was done on the population in general, not specifically for people with Down syndrome or an intellectual disability. 

As with most of the information we share in our Resource Library, we recommend that individuals with Down syndrome and their families discuss the vaccine and their circumstances with their health care provider.


Do I need to isolate if I develop COVID-19?

If you develop COVID-19, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after the fever resolves and your overall symptoms have begun to improve. At that time, the CDC indicates you may resume normal activities.

When you resume normal activities, the CDC recommends opens in new window taking “additional prevention strategies for the next 5 days to curb disease spread, such as taking more steps for cleaner air, enhancing hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitting mask, keeping a distance from others, and/or getting tested for respiratory viruses. Enhanced precautions are especially important to protect those most at risk for severe illness, including those over 65 and people with weakened immune systems.”


Additional information is available in the COVID-19 section of our Resource Library. 

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.