Early childhood education advocates hopeful COVID vaccine will help struggling child-care industry

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Early childhood education advocates are hopeful that Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 5 years old could help alleviate some longstanding problems exacerbated by the pandemic.

Pfizer has asked the Food and Drug Administration for EUA of its two-dose vaccine for children as young as 6 months old. The agency could give it the green light as early as this month.

Tiffany Gladney, NC Child Policy Director, said the organization is applauding the move.

"We know that young children thrive on stability and routine so anything we can do as adults and caregivers and parents to keep their routines in place and keep them learning safely- learning safely- with other children is something we should be doing," she said.

Gladney said right now, staffing shortages are plaguing the industry as many teachers struggle with childcare for themselves and wages are not competitive enough to keep them in an environment with a high risk of exposure.

For families, lengthy quarantines for young unvaccinated children are putting pressure on children and working parents, Gladney said.

"Now, we can also slow the spread of COVID-19 which oftentimes is a threat in these communal type spaces and reduce quarantine times and get young children back in their classrooms where they can learn and play," she said.

How effective the vaccine is at slowing the spread of the virus in child care centers depends on vaccine uptake.

To parents who have concerns about the vaccine for their littlest ones, Gladney advises they go directly to the experts.

"Make sure that you're speaking to your pediatrician about what is best for your child," she said.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.