COVID-19 Vaccinations for Caregivers
If we didn't know it before, we do now - childcare workers are essential professionals, indispensable to the families they serve and vital to the economy as a whole. They merited a mention by the President himself last month. In his speech about his administration’s vaccine efforts, President Biden recognized the importance of childcare workers and called on states to do the same. "I am directing every state to prioritize educators for vaccination." Biden tweeted. "We want every educator, school staff member, and child-care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of this month."
Biden’s announcement was welcome news on all fronts. Parents of children who’ve been stuck doing virtual schooling for upwards of a year now let out a collective cheer. Others, who have children with caregivers or in daycare centers, also have a great interest in seeing their caregivers vaccinated. And teachers and caregivers are no doubt the most pleased of all, having been bravely putting themselves at risk during a pandemic. So where are we now?
The CDC considers childcare workers "essential employees" who are currently eligible in most places. Across the nation, eligibility is expanding, but the details vary widely from state to state. The definition of a "childcare worker" can vary by locale, and many state health departments aren’t being definitive about what phase caretakers qualify under. How can you find out if you or your provider qualifies?
First, it's helpful to locate and review your state's rollout plan. You can find this by contacting your state's health department or by visiting the CDC’s vaccine page and selecting your state from the dropdown menu. If eligible, those hoping to get vaccinated should register right away and follow local instructions to secure an appointment.
Once a caregiver is fully vaccinated, what’s next? The CDC considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or after their first dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
According to the latest CDC guidelines for vaccinated individuals, a fully vaccinated individual should still take precautions while in public, with unvaccinated people from more than one household, or while visiting with those at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. However, when all adults in a household are vaccinated, a fully vaccinated caregiver is safe to visit the home without masks or distancing (hooray!) and can be indoors with unvaccinated low-risk children from a single household without any restrictions. Of course, it’s ultimately up to the parent or guardian to set boundaries with providers regarding masks and other protective measures.
Helpr understands the need to protect both caregivers and children, and if a parent or guardian feels more comfortable with a fully vaccinated caregiver, we help with the process of matching families with the right caregiver in this regard. Get help finding a vaccinated caregiver.
Though there seems to be light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we encourage childcare providers and families who employ them to continue to monitor state and county guidelines, if seeking vaccines. Providers and families who are not yet eligible should check daily for updates - things are changing quickly. Additionally, child care workers are now being offered vaccine appointments at thousands of pharmacy locations nationwide, even if their state hasn't declared them eligible yet. To find out if you qualify, you can check here.
Things are looking hopeful. President Biden recently announced there would be enough vaccines for every adult in the U.S. by the end of May, and states are ramping up vaccine eligibility to meet this deadline. In the meantime, mask up, stay safe, and get in the vaccine line as soon as you can!