I feel like if 2020 were a ride at Disneyland, it would be Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. There have been hairpin turns, bumps, jolts, and long wait lines. But now, as we move towards the new year, it looks like we can hop off and jump on a new ride. A ride that’s a bit brighter, a ride that has just as long of a line, and may involve a little prick of our skin – not in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, but a COVID-19 vaccine.
The news has been full of reports regarding the trials, approvals, and shipping logistics for the vaccines. We have watched as the first healthcare workers in communities get vaccinated on live television. We wholeheartedly agree that the first round of vaccines belong to those who have been on the front line of the COVID battle for nearly a year, those in the trenches of the ER, ICU, long-term care, and other health facilities.
But who comes next… which essential service workers get the fast-pass?
In many reports we see the next phase as being inclusive of essential workers, the millions of Americans that work in an essential field or service. Since March, Child care* has been deemed an essential service, but is frequently overlooked in receiving support – financial and otherwise – during this pandemic. Child care programs have and continue to provide a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for the children of essential workers: our nurses, grocery store employees, mail people, and more.
For the safety of our children, communities, and essential workers, we must create a plan-of-action to get child care workers vaccinated, and soon. A recent Yale study concluded that child care centers did not associate with an elevated risk of COVID exposure. It’s time to work to make our child care centers even safer, and to protect child care workers, by supporting the vaccination of all child care staff.
We want to thank Dr. Oliver Brooks, and the members of the California State Advisory Committee for COVID vaccine distribution, for including Education and Child Care as part of Phase 1B as priority access to vaccines needs to be granted to child care workers. As leaders within the largest non-profit child care provider in California, Catalyst Kids, we ask you to join us in calling for the state to continue to prioritize vaccinating child care staff as they determine the tiers and roll out plan.
Safe childcare options have been vital in keeping our essential workers working and are vital in our economy making a return; we must prioritize doing so in the safest ways possible. We believe we must vaccinate our child care staff, and soon.
*When using the term child care, we are also inclusive of those of us in the child and youth development and education fields.
For breakfast, ElizaBeth had a handful of Christmas candy and coffee with a protein shake, and Michelle had a chocolate chip Perfect Bar and coffee with honey & milk.
Authors: @eppispeppy & Michelle Hoffman