Advocates say childcare workers should be vaccinated in Phase 1b

Posted at 11:31 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 23:31:52-05

(LEX 18) — United Way of Kentucky was joined by several organizations in a letter urging Gov. Andy Beshear and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to prioritize childcare workers in Phase 1b of vaccinations.

Childcare workers have shown up to care for children throughout the pandemic and should be vaccinated in the same group as K-12 school personnel, said Bradley Stevenson, Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Kentucky.

Phase 1b is underway now and includes first responders, K-12 school personnel and anyone age 70 or older. Health experts hope to have Phase 1b of vaccinations completed by early February.

"In many childcare facilities the kids that are not going to school systems, they're coming to childcare facilities," Stevenson said.

Right now, childcare providers are included as essential workers in Phase 1c of vaccinations. This group includes more than 1 million Kentuckians, according to Gov. Beshear.

When asked about vaccinations for childcare workers at his COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, Gov. Beshear said help is on the way for Phase 1c.

"What's really going to set that timing is how much vaccine we get," Governor Beshear said. "I'm trying. I'm trying everything I can to get us more vaccine."

Stevenson sent a letter to state leaders with the same request to include childcare workers in Phase 1b back in December, he said, but has not heard back.

It's disappointing, he said, because he believes prioritizing childcare workers now would benefit not just workers, but all families who rely on them.

"We have these teachers, many of which are women, going in the classroom every single day, teaching kids, and they just don't get the respect that they deserve," he said.