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COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations for People with Disabilities

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What People with Disabilities and Care Providers Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

This webpage provides information for people with disabilities or conditions that may increase their risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, and for their care providers. If you do not see the information you need, please check the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Information page.

Information on COVID-19 vaccines is updated regularly. Check back for updated information.

Get a COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccines are now available to help protect you from getting COVID-19. Disability alone does not put you at higher risk for getting COVID-19. You may be at higher risk because of where you live, such as a long-term care home. You may be at risk because you need to have close contact with care providers. You may also be at risk because you have difficulty wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from other people, or washing your hands.

Many people with disabilities have diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or obesity. These conditions may put you at higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. Talk to your doctor about your health conditions that may put you at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 and about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Down Syndrome is one condition that may put you at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. You might wonder why your disability is not on the underlying conditions list. Conditions are added when there is enough scientific evidence to support putting them on the list. The list is updated as new information becomes available. Please check back often for updates.

Take steps to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19.

When to get your COVID-19 vaccine

It is important that people with disabilities get the COVID-19 vaccine when they are able to. The COVID-19 vaccine is being given to people by “Phase”. CDC makes recommendations for who should first be offered COVID-19 vaccine. Each state then creates its own vaccination plan given the needs of its communities. The CDC recommendations for order of COVID-19 vaccinations are:

  • People in Phase 1a are healthcare workers and people who live in long-term care homes.
  • People in Phase 1b are adults who are 75 years and older and essential workers.
  • People in Phase 1c are adults who are 65 years and older, essential workers who were not in Phase 1b, and people 16 years and older who have high-risk medical conditions.
  • People in Phase 2 are all people 16 years and older living in the United States.

People with disabilities can be a part of any of these phases. Some states include people with disabilities in Phase 1a or Phase 1b. Talk to your state health department for the most updated information on when vaccine is available and when you can be vaccinated. Visit your state health department website for the most up to date information on when the vaccine is available and when you can be vaccinated.

How to get a COVID-19 vaccine for my care provider

You might have someone who helps you with your day-to-day activities, such as a care provider. Care providers may be considered essential workers in vaccination plans. Hospice, home healthcare, and group home providers are considered essential workers. Some examples of home healthcare providers are skilled nurses and therapists and other people who provide personal care services in the home.

A parent or family member might help you with your day-to-day activities. People who help you with your care might be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as you do, depending on what state they live in. Your family member or care provider can contact the health department in the state they live in to find out if they can get the COVID-19 vaccine when you do.

What to expect after your vaccination

You may have mild side effects, like pain, redness, or swelling on the arm, or tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea. These side effects are normal and can last a few days. If you get the COVID-19 vaccine and have side effects that do not go away in a few days or have more serious symptoms, call your doctor.

With some COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots to be fully protected. The timing between your first and second shot depends on which vaccine you received. You should get your second shot as close to the recommended interval as possible. Learn which COVID-19 vaccines need two shots.

After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.

Research shows that COVID-19 vaccine is safe for people 16 years of age and older. Call your doctor if you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccine.

How to access materials about COVID-19

CDC is working to make COVID-19 resources accessible for everyone. We have resources about COVID-19 that are easy to read. We have resources for people with limited English. We also have resources in American Sign Language.

The CDC Foundation funded the Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech) to make some COVID-19 resources in other formats like braille. You can find these resources on the GA Tech websiteexternal icon.

You can report problems with accessible communication on the CDC website.

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