Prioritizing Early Childhood Educators for the COVID Vaccine

Share this Article

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts gain momentum, ECFC and our early childhood partners are concerned with the prioritization of and access to the vaccine for early childhood educators/child care providers.   Among the early challenges we know EC/child care providers were facing:

  • Lack of specific guidance vaccination plans for the ECE/child care sector, with each state responsible for determining its plan.
  • Lack of clarify/unclear definitions of “child care providers” to include all delivery settings (such as Child Care Resource & Referral agencies; licensed and unlicensed exempt care; family, friend and neighbor care).
  • Daunting logistics involved in finding and getting the vaccine: determining eligibility, hours on the phone or online to register for a vaccine, distance and transportation to vaccination sites.  For home and family based child care providers the time and access challenges are especially challenging, as they may be the sole provider at their site.
  • The time needed to navigate the vaccine process, or feeling ill after receiving the vaccine, could mean lost wages if  providers can’t find a substitute or can’t work or have to close their program on some days (this could also mean lost wages for the families they serve in absence of child care).

Roles for Philanthropy

ECFC hosted a discussion in February 2021 with the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Child Care Aware of America, and National Association of Family Child Care to discuss national efforts to prioritize early childhood educators and child care workers for the COVID vaccine, and opportunities for philanthropy to support these efforts in their communities.  Key roles for philanthropy discussed on our February 4th call (and emerging as the vaccine roles out) include: Connecting, convening and supporting trusted partners and navigators to help navigate community needs, deliver messaging, and assist child care providers through the vaccine process; Supporting local education efforts. Read highlights from our discussion regarding these roles for philanthropy.

Examples of Philanthropy Supported Vaccine Efforts

  • Home Grown (funders collaborative on home-based child care) and the National Association for Family Child Care developed a social media toolkit for messaging cohesive messaging for provider advocates and their networks to reach out to state policymakers about home-based child care provider access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  • “The Conversation: Between Us, About Us” is a campaign to provide Black communities with credible information about the COVID-19 vaccines co-developed by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black Coalition Against COVID. Black doctors, nurses and researchers dispel misinformation and provide accessible facts through FAQ videos that deliver the information Black people are asking for about the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Independence Blue Cross Foundation provided a grant to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Foundation to support a vaccination program of education and child care personnel.  Grant funds will be used for a portion of vaccine program related operating expenses and administrative costs.
  • The Boston Foundation launched a Vaccine Resource Map with links for locations, including eligibility information, and informational campaigns and materials in Massachusetts.
  • The Kresge Foundation supports the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) to the support and development of quality, accessible, and culturally competent health services for American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AI/Ans) living in cities.  To support vaccine confidence among AI/AN, the Council launched the #BeAGoodRelative campaign to increase vaccine participation among urban AI/AN. The campaign utilizes a toolkit full of fun swag for urban AI/AN that includes masks, stickers, and fliers for UIOs to distribute as community members receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  To find out more and download the toolkit, follow NCUIH on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.
  • How Philanthropy Can Support Equitable Vaccine Distributions, Social Innovation Review, Feb 17 2021, discusses four ways philanthropy can effectively partner with governments to support equitable vaccination distribution and ensure that more individuals are vaccinated against COVID-19, and provides specific examples of these types of partnership in California.

Photo credit: ChildCareteacherandkids

Scroll to Top