New analysis finds people with ID/DD are three times more likely to die of Covid-19

People with intellectual disabilities and developmental disorders are three times more likely to die if they have Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, compared with others with the diagnosis, according to a large analysis of insurance claims data. The finding raises complex questions about how to allocate new vaccines as they become available in limited supplies. The drug maker Pfizer announced this week that its experimental vaccine is performing well in clinical trials.

So far, guidelines for distributing vaccines have recommended prioritizing emergency workers, health care providers and other essential workers, as well as people at heightened risk for severe disease, including some older adults and those with certain chronic illnesses. The guidelines, which are still evolving, have not specifically emphasized the importance of prioritizing the vaccination of children and adults with intellectual disabilities like Down syndrome and developmental disorders. They emphasize more generally the need to protect people with underlying health problems and those living in congregate settings.