The Nation magazine
According to , while 40 states have included child care providers in the same eligibility tier as K-12 educators, five of them—Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio, Utah, and Wyoming—and Washington, D.C., put K-12 teachers ahead of those teaching and caring for children at younger ages. Like Rhode Island, Vermont originally said that child care providers and teachers would be prioritized at the same time and then changed gears to set eligibility based on age, according to Mario Cardona, chief of policy and practice at Child Care Aware. Four states—Florida, Indiana, Texas, and West Virginia—haven’t made it clear when child care providers will be eligible.
There are many reasons that child care and early childhood educators argue they should be vaccinated ahead of the general population, however.
“Child care has been essential since before the pandemic,” Cardona said. “Providers around the country are losing money and putting their health and their families’ health at risk…to keep their programs running.” K-12 educators are often getting prioritized in the hope that widespread educator vaccination can help to safely reopen schools. But “it isn’t a situation where these child care providers need a vaccine in order to open. They are open,” Cardona noted.
Cardona was quick to say that his organization is not criticizing any of the states’ eligibility decisions, noting that they’re made by lawmakers and officials on the ground. But others have no hesitation criticizing them.