Vaccinations available to Child care staff

Vaccinations available to Child care staff

What a week this has been. Over the weekend, vaccine appointments for child care workers began to open up. Because our children’s center has been open and because I am connected to the Childcare Planning Council and to the ECE Director’s Roundtable, I was able to ensure that IVYP’s staff were included in the list. It was quite a ride.

On Sunday morning, I was asked to provide names and contact information for those teachers who work with children who are at risk. I identified the teachers who have children with IEPs. I contacted each of those teachers by text to confirm that they wanted the vaccine. The last thing I want to do is take up a space and then not have the person accept the appointment. By noon, I had submitted a list of six names. Toward the end of the day, I was told that they had one more space. I gave them one more person.

On Monday morning at 10, I was told that we could have 10 more spaces. I had already pulled together a list of all our remaining permanent staff in ranked order. There were 18 people remaining on the list. I submitted the next 10. At 3:00, I received another phone call. They had space for everyone on my list. Now that included me! Woo hoo!. All of these appointments were for Tuesday. We didn’t receive the actual registration link until 7 PM. I spent much of the evening texting with staff to ensure that they received the link and that they actually registered.

Successful acceptance of vaccines at IVYP

I’ve also been reflecting on the success of our organizational vaccine response, and thoughts about I communicating about the vaccine to our Hispanic population.

The IVYP staff is 77.5% Hispanic/Latinx, 2.5% mixed race, and 12.5% Caucasian/white.
I know we have a small sample size, only 40 people, but here are my stats so far:
38/40 have been invited to receive the vaccine (2 are ineligible – both are pregnant, and one of the pregnant women currently has an active COVID infection.)

15% of my staff have gotten ill with COVID – ALL of those are LatinX

Of those eligible for the vaccine, only one person has declined the opportunity. In discussions with staff, I am hearing that while people have been hesitant, they have encouraged one another. I’ve also heard that they are motivated to receive a vaccine to protect their children.

How can we encourage everyone to get vaccinated?

I recognize this is just anecdotal, but I’m thinking about how we might communicate to the LatinX community about the vaccine. I think we have some real- life experience, which might inform communication efforts. Additionally, I see that many of my low literacy staff members needed support in regis-tering for their vaccine appointment. I think there is an opportunity for our CHAs to proactively reach out to support our community in signing up for the vaccine.

I’m also thinking about how to structure a survey to my staff to understand their choice to get the vaccine. I’m not great at developing surveys. I wonder if someone in your world might be interested in this?

Cottage Hospital was immediately interested in continuing this conversation and we are now working with them to help our LatinX community get vaccinated. Unfortunately, as the rules continue to change, we need to constantly change our strategy. At some point soon, Blue Shield will take over the vaccine distribution, removing that responsibility from Public Health. I don’t know that they will be as focused on equity as Cottage or as Public Health. We’ll see.

Committed to reducing inequity

I am committed to doing everything I can to reduce the inequities around vaccine distribution, and to get our underserved communities vaccinated.

In addition to vaccines, our work continues apace. We are increasing the number of families served at our food distribution. Yesterday, we had 154 families receive food. We’re also continuing to increase our diaper distribution. In February, we distributed 2,130 diapers to 64 children. So far in March, we’ve distributed 1300 or so diapers to 37 children. It’s only March 5!

Executive Director, Isla Vista Youth Projects

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