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Daycare providers prepare for Covid-19 vaccine

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 6:41 PM CST
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Starting March 1, teachers and others in phase 1B were eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

First priority in 1B is educators and childcare staff, followed by long-term Medicaid enrollees and public-facing essential workers, non-frontline healthcare workers and facility staff, and residents in congregate living settings.

However, the new eligibility comes as state leaders say the vaccine supply still does not match demand.

Mary Olson runs an at-home daycare in Stevens Point called “Little Sneakers Family Day Care.” She said she is excited to get the vaccine but is willing to wait until those who are more vulnerable get theirs first.

“I’m very excited for it to be my turn,” Olson said.

After nearly one year of waiting, the Wisconsin DHS is allowing educators and childcare providers to get their dose of the vaccine.

Olson received an email from DHS, confirming she is eligible to sign up on the waiting list for the vaccine.

“I’m thrilled that they put us in the 1B group and that we’re up to bat and ready to get this, I’m looking forward to having the vaccine and ready to get it,” Olson said.

Despite Olson’s excitement to get the vaccine, she plans to wait until the rest in phase 1A have gotten their shot. She said she doesn’t want to budge people in line that are more vulnerable.

“If the vaccine is in high demand and it’s a limited supply, I think I would like the people who are seeing a lot of children or bigger groups, teachers in the schools, things like that, that they would get it before I do,” Olson said.

Olson said getting the COVID-19 vaccine is vital for her to run a smooth and safe business. She believes not getting the vaccine and taking a risk is out of the question.

“If I get COVID, I have to shut down, and that means I have a lot of families whose children don’t have any place to go while the parents are working,” Olson said. “We have to have the mindset that things are never going to go back to exactly what they used to be.”

The children’s safety is her number one priority, and while Olson admitted sanitizing and other safety precautions have been time-consuming, taking that extra step is worth it while vaccines are still being rolled out.

“This is our next generation of doctors and scientists and teachers and lawyers and you know, pet groomers,” Olson said. “This is the generation that is going to be taking care of all of those essential needs within our society and we want to make sure their foundation is secure.”

As for daycare centers, the Woodson YMCA said in an email to NewsChannel 7 that they hope to begin the vaccination process as soon as possible.

“We are hopeful that we will begin the vaccination process soon. Woodson YMCA childcare staff will be encouraged and allowed to set up and attend their appointments during their work hours. Our goal is to have the safest and healthiest environment possible for our families and staff,” Woodson YMCA Vice President of childcare Sally Glennon said.

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