DSC News

Ask the Experts!

Ask the Experts!

Do you have questions about the COVID Vaccine for the younger population? 

Ask DSC Medical Experts, Dr. Partridge, Dr. Morrison, and Dr. Khor your questions!
Fill out the form below and check back to see your questions answered.
 Answers will be shared every Friday on this page.
  1. Many of our kiddos have heart conditions, are we seeing higher risk of myocarditis or any other side effect in kids with Ds or with heart conditions specifically?

Myocarditis (heart inflammation) is very rarely seen after COVID-19 vaccination, and the vast majority of people tend to do very well (>99% survive and >90% back to normal).  Researchers have found NO links between myocarditis or the heart conditions often seen in people with Down syndrome.  Actual infection with COVID-19 results in a MUCH higher rate (>100 times!) of myocarditis with worse outcome (<80% survival).  COVID19 vaccination protects against most severe outcomes, it decreases the risk of heart damage by 1000 times.  Thus, the great benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. The new, more contagious variants teach us that COVID19 is here to stay and we will likely all be exposed at some point, and the very best way to protect people with Down syndrome is by giving them the vaccine.

 

Table from Heymans & Cooper, Nat Rev Cardio 2021

“Common Viral myocarditis: 1-10 per 100k people per year  >80% survival

COVID-19-assoc myocarditis: 1000-4000 per 100k people 30-80% survival

CoV2-mRNA-vax-myocarditis: 0.3-5.0 per 100k vaccinated apple >99% survival

 

 

  1. My daughter will be 12 in January but is the size of a 7 year old. Is it safe for her to get the 12 year old dose when she is so small?

Almost all medications are dosed on children’s weights, but vaccines aren’t medications!  Vaccines work based on how old your immune system is and are unrelated to size.  All children should get the dose that matches their age. 

 

  1. Has the vaccine been approved for kids with Down syndrome? My daughter is 5. And would you recommend it?

The vaccine has now been approved for all ages 5 and up. Like most other vaccines and medications, there is no special approval for kids with DS. We are tightly connected with the international community and are keeping close watch on any side effects of vaccines in people with DS anywhere in the world. COVID19 infection is clearly more dangerous for people with DS, for example increased risk of death starting at a younger age compared to typical people.  Although death is the most obvious and easiest to measure, there are other long-lasting consequences of COVID19 infection including brain fog and autoimmunity. Vaccination is our best tool to protect against COVID19 infection, especially for kids!

 

  1. How are you encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated?

We think that considering the risks and benefits of COVID19 infection versus vaccination, the balance strongly favors vaccinating all our loved ones, particularly those with DS. We recognize that all parents want the best for their kids, and it is easily to struggle with the massive amount of information out there. We work diligently every day, learning from the most current studies, to discern what the best care is. Because it is so important to keep our loved ones with DS safe, because hesitating against the protection vaccination gives carries such important risks, we are taking extra time to address parents’ concerns individually and in forums like these including many past webinars. If you can think of other effective ways to encourage parents to get their kids vaccinated, please let us know!

  1. Is there any work going on in Seattle to improve our understanding of vaccination and COVID19 in people with DS?

YES! Seattle is becoming a leader in research in DS, thanks to tight partnership between the Virginia Mason Down syndrome program and the Benaroya Research Institute. This team recently made important new discoveries about the immune system of people with DS, directly leading to proposed clinical trial to improve vaccine response in people with DS. Also, this team is leading the pack in understanding response to COVID19 vaccination in people with DS. We are committed to communicating all findings back to the community, so stay tuned for news soon after the new year! Most importantly, this work depends on participation from YOU, our community of people with DS! To learn how to help us improve our ability to care for people with DS, email [email protected] or speak up at your next visit with Dr. Partridge or Dr. Morrison!

The information provided in “Ask the Experts” is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it is not intended for medical diagnosis or treatment. All medical decisions should be made in consultation with your professional healthcare provider.  Talk with your professional healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, diagnosis or treatment.