LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As vaccine distributions continue in Kentucky, there are growing frustration among the state’s childcare providers who say they need to be prioritized in Phase 1B.
Currently, Kentucky’s Phase 1B includes K-12 teachers, first responders and people over 70, despite the CDC’s recommendation to include several other groups including childcare staff.
Governor Andy Beshear said the state simply does not have enough doses to accommodate the large group of people the CDC recommended.
“Right now, the priority group is limited to K through 12, but there’s no question that childcare workers are critical, and they have exposure too,” Beshear said.
Kentucky childcare providers created a petition letter asking the state to move their group higher on the vaccine priority list to Phase 1B.
Childcare advocates like Dawn Thompson, the assistant director of Community Coordinated Child Care (4C), said childcare providers have been working on the frontlines throughout the pandemic and are essential to the workforce.
“(Childcare) has to be available for our families to be able to go to work and school and do the things they need to do,” Thompson said. “Those folks continue to show up every day.”
Thompson told WAVE 3 News there have been more than 150 positive cases within 4C’s group of providers in Jefferson County so far. When someone inside a center tests positive, she said it can create a chain reaction of problems.
“When that happens there’s a huge array of things that could happen, anywhere from a shutdown to extra cleaning measures and extra precautionary measures that take place in those centers,” Thompson said. “It’s important for those vaccines to be in place so we can limit those closures and intrusions into the care of those children.”
Thompson added when someone inside a childcare center tests positive, it disrupts the consistent care children need during their developing years.
“We want to make sure all people that are caring for children in our community are receiving this vaccine as soon as possible, so that includes our K-12 educators but our childcare educators as well,” Thompson said.
Jefferson County has a separate form to gauge vaccine interest among childcare employees and other groups. To access the form, click here.