Marisa Howard-Karp, MS
February 24, 2021

What should families of children with disabilities know about the COVID vaccine?

Hey families, the COVID vaccine is on everyone’s mind. Those of us who have children or teens with disabilities have lots of questions. What could this mean for our families? Here’s a quick list of what we know already and what we are still learning.

A note to our Louisiana families: need help scheduling the vaccine for yourself or a family member with a disability? We can help. Use the “chat” button that pops up on our website  or call or text us at (844) 354-1212

Hey families, the COVID vaccine is on everyone’s mind. Those of us who have children, teens, or young adult children with disabilities have lots of questions. What does this mean for our families? Who is the vaccine good for? Here’s a quick list of what we know already and what we are still learning.

Who can get the vaccine?

  • Only people who are 16 or older can get the COVID vaccine. They need to do more testing to make sure it’s safe for children. Testing has already started, so look for more news on this over the next few months. 

  • Most people with disabilities who live in group homes can get the vaccine now. This is also true for people who live in nursing homes. The timing is different in every state, so check your state’s health department website for details.

  • Some people with disabilities are struggling to access vaccine mega-sites. Make sure you ask beforehand about whether your accessibility needs will be met at the site. 

  • You should still get the vaccine if you have already had COVID-19. Most people can’t get a virus again once they have had it, but we don’t know yet how long that protection will last. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says yes, you should still get the vaccine

What about safety? And how much will it cost?

Here’s what you can do right now

  • When it’s your turn, get your shot. If you are nervous about it or don’t think it’s for you, talk to your doctor, talk to any friends or family members who have gotten it about their decision, and read some trustworthy sources

  • Wear your mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands. These are the best ways to keep yourself and the people around you healthy — even if you have already had the vaccine.

  • Know your sources. There is a lot of false information floating around out there, so make sure you are using reliable sources. For example, if you read something on Facebook or Twitter, look up where the information came from. You should be able to confirm it on a government or non-profit organizations’s website. Here’s a resource we love: COVID-19 Vaccine Information in Plain Language. It was created by and for people with intellectual disabilities.

Check out our other blogs: 

People with disabilities should have priority access to the COVID vaccine

Can I stay with my family member in the hospital if they have a disability?

Pandemic emergency planning for families of children with disabilities

Some more great resources: 

COVID 19 Vaccine: Who Should Get the COVID 19 Vaccine? (Plain Language Edition)

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination 

Black Coalition Against COVID-19

  • Marisa Howard-Karp, MS

    Chief Operating Officer

    Marisa Howard-Karp has spent her career focused on improving access to health care and education, including 15 years providing professional development training to educators and social workers. As a parent and caregiver to four children with disabilities, she has been part of more than 40 IEP meetings (and counting) and has more experience than she wishes she needed navigating complex services and systems. She loves the work of making these systems easier for other families. She’s a non-profit lifer and a Georgia native who has made her home in the Boston area.

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