Statement from Down Syndrome International

The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a serious challenge in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals in respect of people with Down syndrome.

People with Down syndrome are being left behind in the COVID-19 response around the world. COVID-19 has exposed inequalities, deepening existing discrimination and marginalisation.

This must not happen in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, particularly in light of the current limitations of vaccine supply.

Furthermore, despite growing evidence that they are at greater risk of death from infection and severe outcomes from specific issues associated with the syndrome, not all countries have policies in place to vaccinate people with Down syndrome against COVID-19 as a priority.

We call on national governments and UN agencies to:

  • recognise people with Down syndrome as a priority group;
  • make COVID-19 information campaigns and vaccination sites inclusive and accessible to people with Down syndrome;
  • ensure that organisations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) are actively involved in the development of COVID-19 related planning and policy-making and that vaccinations must only happen with free and informed consent and
  • collate data on the vaccination of people with Down syndrome, disaggregated by age and sex and shared this in accessible formats.

COVID vaccination advocacy toolkit

We are producing a COVID-19 vaccination advocacy toolkit to help our supporters advocate for the necessary prioritisation of people with Down syndrome in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in countries worldwide.

The toolkit includes:

  • evidence to support the prioritisation of people with Down syndrome;
  • what health and research organisations are doing;
  • what disability and advocacy organisations are doing;
  • what we can do together to create a united global voice;
  • what DSi is doing.

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Toolkit and updates


For more resources on COVID-19 and Down syndrome, please visit our COVID-19 resources page.

COVID-19