Vaccine eligibility for child-care workers brings relief in Windsor

·2 min read
The vaccination clinic at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg, Ont., is shown in a file photo. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit)
The vaccination clinic at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg, Ont., is shown in a file photo. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit)

Staff at licensed daycare centres across the province are now eligible to receive vaccines against COVID-19, but it's a move some daycare workers and families have been calling for since the vaccine rollout began.

"This pandemic has really showed us how essential child care is, not only of a society but for the community that we live in," said Karen Thibert, an early childhood educator at Windsor's Delta Chi Child Care.

Karen Thibert, an early childhood educator, said she feels her profession has been undervalued by the government in the pandemic.
Karen Thibert, an early childhood educator, said she feels her profession has been undervalued by the government in the pandemic.(Mrinali Anchan/CBC)

So far the daycare has not yet had a case of COVID-19. But Thibert said she is disappointed the provincial government delayed vaccination for daycare workers, given that child care has remained an essential service for families throughout the pandemic.

"We have been open and front-line since day one, working long hours to making sure our cohorts aren't broken and our kids are kept safe. We're in such close proximity with young, young kids who aren't even allowed to wear PPE yet because they're so little," she said.

The provincial government said Tuesday that child-care workers would be eligible for vaccination starting on Thursday.

But the workers were eligible a little sooner here in Windsor-Essex. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) opened up appointments for those workers last Friday.

Marla Coffin, who has a two-year-old daughter in daycare, is happy that workers are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
Marla Coffin, who has a two-year-old daughter in daycare, is happy that workers are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.(Mrinali Anchan/CBC)

Marla Coffin has a two-year-old daughter in daycare at Delta Chi. She said she is glad workers are able to get their shots.

Her primary concern around sending her child to daycare during the pandemic has been the contact with other family bubbles, she said.

"The fact that we could be in many, many circles from people who are or aren't respecting the guidelines — it's hard to say, we'll never know — that has been a more predominant concern for us in sending our daughter continually to daycare throughout the pandemic."

She said she understands the challenge of assigning vaccine priority across society, but said the sooner the workers could have been vaccinated, the better.

"I would have have liked to have seen them vaccinated sooner. I think it would have instilled additional comfort for them as workers and as employees who need to protected because they are essential," she said.

WECHU is using its own vaccination registration system rather than the provincial booking portal. Those currently eligible can register at WEvax.ca

Child-care workers must bring a letter from their employer verifying that they work at a licenced child-care setting to their appointments. Those eligible include employees and students on placements who interact directly with children and licensed home child care and in-home service providers.