The Down Syndrome Association, alongside The Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group, hosted a webinar last Friday on Covid-19 and children under 16 who have Down Syndrome. The slides from this webinar can be found here.
We've outlined some of the take home messages from the talk below:
- Children with Down Syndrome who have had Covid have not been at increased risk over other children. No child with Down Syndrome has died or been severely affected in the UK. If your child has respiratory or cardiac problems, they may be at higher risk but it is very important to talk to your GP, paeditrician or specialist consultant to understand individual risk. If your child is considered at higher risk they will be classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, and will have been asked to shield. It is worth being aware that some children recieved notification of being Clincally Extremely Vulnerable at the end of last year in error. If you are unsure if your child is shielding, please do check with GP or other clinician.
-For those who are shielding due to being Clinically Extremely Vulnerable you must follow the advice you've been given. For other children, it is considered that they should be sent back to school when schools open, as there are concerns about the effects of not being in school on children's mental and emotional wellbeing and behaviour.
-If your child is unwell you must go into hospital as usual. Children's wards are all open and are not busy at the moment.
-Vaccines will not be offered to children at the moment as there is not enough data on the safety of this- trials haven't been carried out on under 16s. But symptoms of Covid-19 are mild in children and transmission seems to be low.
-As a carer of a child with Down Syndrome you are eligible for vaccination in priority group 6 (only one carer per child). Make sure you are registered as a carer with your GP.
-To ensure your child stays as healthy as possible they should maintain a balanced diet and good hygiene (hand washing, social distancing when out & about), keep active, and be given opportunities to learn. They can also have the flu vaccine, take Vitamin D supplement and have the pneumococcal vaccine (over 2's, speak to your GP about this) to help keep them safe and healthy.
For any further general questions, you can contact the DSA. For individual questions about your child, speak to a GP or paediatrician.