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

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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.

Here’s what we know

Only people who are 16 or older will be able to 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 will be able to get the vaccine in the first few months. This also applies to people who live in nursing homes. The timing will be a little different in every province, so check the health department website for details.

People who have an illness that makes it harder to fight COVID will probably be able to get the vaccine in earlier. This should include many people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Advocates are pushing to include people on the autism spectrum and anyone with learning disabilities in this early group too.

The vaccine will be free, even if you do not have medical aid. This is part of an effort to make sure everyone who wants the vaccine will be able to get it.

There is NO link between vaccines and autism. Not one study has shown any connection between the two. Social media is full of misinformation. If you’re worried, talk to your child’s doctor.

Here’s what we don’t know yet

Do you still need a vaccine if you have already had COVID-19? Most people can’t get a virus again once they have had it, but Coronavirus is so new that we just don’t know yet how long you are immune. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has not yet made a recommendation about the vaccine for people who have already had COVID. Stay tuned over the next few months.

Here’s what you can do right now

Get a flu shot.
This will help protect you, your family, and your community - especially when hospitals are overcrowded because of COVID.

Wear your mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands.
These are the best ways to keep yourself and the people around you healthy.
Know your sources.
There is a lot of false information floating around out there, so make sure you are using reliable sources.

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