Tips for people with disabilities to prepare for getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Last updated December 30, 2022.

Available languages: Español | Tiếng Việt | Soomaali | 中文 | العربية | नेपाली

Graphic of people with disabilities standing with sign that says "COVID-19 VACCINES - Accomodations Available!"

Everyone aged 6 months and older, including people with disabilities, should get a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is safe and works well to keep you from getting very sick with COVID-19. 

Living with a disability alone does not put you at higher risk for getting COVID-19. You may be at higher risk if you:

  • Live in a long-term care facility or a congregate setting with other people. 
  • Are in close and continuous contact with care providers.                                                                     
  • Have difficulty following preventive measures, such as wearing a mask, staying at least six feet away from other people, or washing your hands regularly. 
  • Have other underlying health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or obesity. 
  • Have Down syndrome. 

The first thing you need to do is schedule a vaccine appointment for yourself or for your loved one. There are free vaccine clinics in all parts of Colorado. If you would like help making a vaccine appointment over the phone, call CDC’s vaccine hotline at 1-800-232-0233. Help is available in multiple languages.

Accommodations are available: Here’s how to request them 

You have the right to ask for accommodations at vaccine clinics. You may contact any vaccine clinic at least 24 hours in advance if you have accommodation requests. Clinics that say they have accommodations available have verified accessibility. Read below about accommodations at Colorado’s vaccine clinics.

  • Use Colorado’s vaccine finder webpage to find a vaccine clinic near you. Click a pin on the map to find out if a clinic offers specific accommodations.
  • Learn about the accommodations offered at Colorado’s mobile vaccine clinics.
  • If you have a wheelchair, scooter, or walker, ask for ample space. 
  • If you have a service animal, you have the right to take it with you into the clinic, but make sure it stays with you or your companion. 
  • If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or interact with others by reading lips, ask the provider to wear a clear or cloth mask with a clear panel. As this type of mask is not always available in the vaccine clinics, bring your preferred written communication tools with you or ask for one at the clinic (like a paper and a pen). You can also request ASL interpretation.
  • If you or your loved one are anxious or worried about getting a vaccine, ask if the clinic staff can provide something to help with pain at the injection site. They may be able to use a topical numbing spray/cream or a Buzzy, which is a small hand-held device that creates a cooling vibration on the skin. 
Other general accommodations you can ask for: 
  • You/your loved one to be vaccinated in your car. 
  • Help with walking around in the 15 minutes after getting vaccinated instead of sitting down.  
  • Having your/your loved one’s favorite companion accompany you and help during the appointment.
  • Getting vaccinated in a quiet room away from crowds. 

If you are unsure about whether the vaccine is right for you, ask the clinic staff for more information. They can provide you with a document or talk with you about your concerns.


What to expect at a vaccine clinic and how to prepare

Prepare for your vaccine appointment by planning for the following:

  • Make sure you have a safe way to get to the vaccine clinic. If you need a ride to your appointment, you can use Mile High United Way’s Ride United program, which provides free rides (up to 25 miles each way) to vaccination sites across Colorado. Dial 2-1-1 or visit to learn more.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that can help you expose your upper arm easily, such as a T-shirt. 
  • Wear a face mask to protect yourself and others. If it is hard for you to wear a mask, practice wearing one at home or ask your health care provider for advice. There are also disability-friendly face masks you can use
  • Arrive at the clinic a few minutes early.
  • Children with or without disabilities may have fear about vaccines in general. Following these tips for parents and guardians can make a significant difference in creating a positive vaccine experience. 
  • If you or your loved one have difficulty coping in a health care setting or feel anxious or worried about the vaccine, let the clinic staff know before you check in for your appointment. 
  • If you or your loved one are anxious, you can also check with your/your loved one’s providers and see if they recommend any medication to take before your appointment.


After getting your vaccine

After you get vaccinated, you will be asked to wait for 15 to 30 minutes in a waiting room to make sure you/your loved one are doing well. If you prefer to walk around instead of sitting down while you wait, ask the clinic staff if there is an appropriate space for you to go. Someone should stay with you while you walk around to make sure you are safe.

  • After you get your first dose of the vaccine, make sure you schedule your follow-up doses. Everyone needs at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Talking with a nurse or doctor can help you learn more about how many doses you need and when you can schedule them.


Common side effects of the vaccine

You may feel a little sick after getting the vaccine. These side effects usually go away on their own after a few days. Different people may have different side effects, even if they receive the same vaccine. These side effects are common and show that your body is practicing to fight the COVID-19 virus. 

The most common side effects are:

Graphic icons of vaccine side effects: pain at injections site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, stomachache, fever

  • Pain, swelling, and redness near the spot where you got the vaccine.
  • Pain, tenderness, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm where you got the vaccine.
  • Tiredness.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Chills.
  • Joint pain.
  • Stomach ache/throwing up.
  • Fever.


What to do after getting the vaccine

Your body needs some time to practice fighting the virus. It  takes two weeks after your last recommended dose to be protected. In the meantime, you should:

  • Keep wearing your mask.
  • Not get too close to people who don’t live with you.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands often.


Your vaccine record 

It is very important to get your vaccine card at your appointment as proof of vaccination. Take care of this card. You can also view and print an official record of your vaccination by accessing the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS). If you have a smartphone, you can find a digital version of your COVID-19 immunization card through myVaccine Record on the myColorado mobile app

Graphic of happy people who have disabilities: "I will be happy I did my part! COVID-19 vaccine protects me, family, friends, and others!"

Download this graphic in other languages: Español | Tiếng Việt | Soomaali | 中文 | العربية | नेपाली

If you experience or witness any discrimination during any step of the vaccine process,
please report it using the state’s Vaccine Concerns form.