I live with my husband and children, one of whom is an 18-year-old with Down syndrome. For the last month, we have been told by our physician my son’s vaccination is imminent. We were encouraged to start calling for updates so that we could get an appointment as soon as it’s available.

Even though my son is relatively healthy, studies indicate that people with Down syndrome are five times more likely to experience serious illness and 10 times more likely to die from COVID-19.

With the new Maine age-based system, with no regard for risk factors, my son is now relegated to the bottom of the heap, alongside typical, healthy 18-year-olds. Our family’s hopes of easing our COVID restrictions have disappeared, and we must continue to worry every day about my son’s safety.

My son is a senior who was hoping to get a job through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. He was hoping to start Section 28 services in the coming weeks and get much-needed one-to-one support to work on independent living skills. We knew his vaccination was coming, so we were finally able to move forward with these plans to help ensure his post-secondary success. These efforts have to be tabled with his inability to get the vaccine.

We know many people who would gladly defer their vaccine to help Maine’s high-risk residents avoid serious illness or death. We see the immeasurable value in vaccinating the most vulnerable first, regardless of age. Why can’t the state?

Jennifer Christensen
South Portland

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: