AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Center for Disease Control lists Down syndrome as a condition that increases risk of severe illness, and it’s now part of the Texas Department of Health Services Phase 1B priority list.
“If you have Down syndrome and you get COVID you are much more likely to be quite sick from it,” said Jennifer Edwards, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas.
Edwards says her members wanted clarification about Down syndrome and receiving the vaccine.
“We are essentially trying to request that Texas Department of State Health Services include Down syndrome specifically,” she said.
Down syndrome was not included on the state’s website, but the CDC recently made changes to their list, adding Down syndrome as it puts someone at increased risk of severe illness.
“We would like to have that specifically listed because right now there is so much upheaval and there is so much different information out there,” Edwards said.
Chris Macey’s son has Down syndrome, and he has been advocating for it to be included in Phase 1B. He says clarification on who can get the vaccine is important, and it should be in writing on the state’s website.
“If you go to the list (DSHS priority list) we are not on there,” Macey said. “So of course we would love for them to clear that up. Make it very clear about who can get it.”
KXAN reached out to the Department of State Health Services on Monday. A spokesman told us a person with Down syndrome would be eligible because it’s listed on the CDC’s website.
“Texas can do the right thing pretty quickly we think,” Edwards said. “Type in Down syndrome into that bullet point and update your website.”
By Wednesday evening, after more questions from KXAN, the state had Down syndrome listed as a qualification for Phase 1B.
“The Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT), on behalf of our community across Texas, is grateful DSHS agreed to our request and amended the 1B vaccine priority list to include Down syndrome and align with CDC guidelines.
This will save lives in Texas.
DSACT encourages all those age 16 and over with Down syndrome to talk to their doctors in order to expedite the vaccine access they urgently need.”Jennifer A. Edwards, executive director of the DSACT