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What LA Child Care Providers Need to Know About Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

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Child care providers, many of whom have never stopped caring for children during the coronavirus pandemic, have been anxiously awaiting their turn for the COVID-19 vaccine. Starting March 1, they can sign up.

Child care workers who work or live in L.A. County, Orange County and Long Beach are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, with an uncertain supply, it's hard to say whether it will be days or weeks before they'll be able to sign up for appointments.

Many of L.A.'s child care workers are part of a population more likely to contract COVID-19 - 65% of early educators are Latino.

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"Our Latinx community is, in fact, bearing the worst of this pandemic," said L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer in January.

Justine Flores is a family child care provider in Los Angeles who says she knows colleagues and community members who have died from COVID-19. Others can only breathe with the help of a ventilator.

"I don't want to see no more providers pass away," Flores said. "I don't want to have to visit another funeral home."

Flores was vaccinated in January because she also works as a nurse, but says it still took her weeks to get an appointment.

People have asked why she continues to provide child care despite often making less than minimum wage - even before the pandemic.

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"These children, they need to continue to have some sort of structure in their life, especially during a pandemic," Flores said. "This is why child care providers stepped up because of the fact that if we don't do it, who will?"

Read on to learn more about the vaccine rollout for providers in L.A. County, Orange County, Long Beach and Pasadena.

We'll update this story as new information comes in. If you've got tips or questions, please tell us using the box at the bottom of this story.

For general information, read more about getting the first dose of the vaccine. Need a second dose? We've answered a bunch of questions about that in KPCC/LAist's second dose guide.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

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L.A. County is currently vaccinating Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1. Phase 1A includes healthcare workers, staff and residents at nursing/long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes residents 65 and older, educators and child care providers, emergency services, food and agriculture workers.

Cristina Alvarado, executive director of Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, whose 10 partner agencies deliver child care services throughout the county, estimated they will need about 100,000 vaccines to cover the proposed list of workers.

Who will be eligible?

Information is constantly being updated, but as of today, those eligible include a wide range of formal and informal child care providers, including those that are licensed, license-exempt, and unlicensed.

This can include child care center staff, family child care home providers, "family, friend, and neighbor" providers who receive state subsidy payments, staff members of agencies that provide child care resources and referrals, employees of agencies that funnel state funding to subsidized child care providers and staff from public parks and recreation and youth programs that provide child care. The current round of vaccines does not, however, include nannies working in individual family homes.

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What should you bring?

Providers will need to bring a picture ID, proof that they live or work in L.A. County, and documentation to prove their status as a licensed or license-exempt child care provider. Because information on documentation is still evolving, a best practice would be to bring multiple forms of documentation just in case.

Some examples of documentation include:

  • For center-based early childhood educators (licensed): a copy of State of California license for center; badge; pay stub; letter from employer
  • Family child care homes (licensed): a copy of State of California license for center
  • Family, friends, and neighbors (FFN) providing subsidized care (license exempt): a copy of an attendance sheet or invoice.

How to sign up and stay in the loop:
Multiple agencies will be sending out information. To ensure vaccines get to child care providers who need them, particularly those working in the hardest-hit communities, some vaccination sites will be invitation-only. Some agencies will be sending out invitations to these sites.

Child care providers who are 65 and over are eligible for a special COVID-19 vaccination program. They can sign up for appointments at a closed vaccination point of distribution.

Alvarado recommends providers create a profile on the CA ECE Workforce Registry to receive notifications and contact their local resource and referral agency.

To stay in the loop, providers can also join the next LA County ECE COVID-19 Response Team Community Call. They're typically on Friday mornings and information about those calls is usually posted on their website.

All others can sign up for appointments at: myturn.ca.gov or the LA County vaccination appointment website. You can also sign up to receive email updates with updated information at vaccinatelacounty.com. If you don't have a computer, you can call 833-540-0473 between 8 AM to 8:30 PM.

ORANGE COUNTY

Starting March 1, Orange County will be vaccinating Phase 1A and 1B, Tier 1 , which includes healthcare workers, staff and residents at nursing/long-term care facilities, residents 65 and older, educators, emergency services, food and agriculture workers.

How to prepare:

Workers who are currently eligible for vaccines need to show an ID and one piece of documentation including a professional license, employee badge, signed note from an employer on letterhead or a pay stub with their name on it. It's unclear yet whether child care workers will have to show similar documents. See the above recommendations for L.A. County documentation for examples.

The Orange County Health Care Agency vaccination distribution website says the agency will notify child care employers, who will then notify eligible staff when vaccines are available.

We know not all child care workers have traditional employers and reached out to the county with questions. We'll update this post when we hear back.

LONG BEACH

Long Beach opened vaccine appointments to child care workers, who are in Phase 1B, Tier 1, during the week of January 25.

Here's who's eligible, according to the city's vaccine website: nannies, all staff (including facilities and maintenance staff) at preschools, day camps, afterschool programs and home schooling programs. Home-based child care providers are not eligible yet.

"Due to our limited vaccine supply, we started with center-based early childhood education providers," Jennifer Rice Epstein, public affairs officer for the city of Long Beach, wrote in an email. "Once more vaccine is available, we will certainly take home-based childcare center(s), too."

How to prepare:

Check first to see if your employer is offering vaccinations. If not, sign up on the VaxLB website.

Child care workers need to provide some proof of employment such as a paystub or letter from their employer.

PASADENA

Pasadena is currently vaccinating Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1 which includes healthcare workers, staff and residents at nursing/long-term care facilities,residents 65 and older, Child care workers, educators, emergency services, food and agriculture workers.

The city is following state guidance about eligibility, so both formal and informal child care workers will be eligible. Child care providers will need to show proof of current, eligible employment in the City of Pasadena, such as a letter from an employer, work badge/ID, paystub, etc. Child care providers that live in Pasadena but work elsewhere will also be asked to provide proof of City of Pasadena residency as well. See the above recommendations for L.A. County documentation for examples for child care providers.

The city is working with its Office of the Young Child and the local resource and referral agency Options For Learning to understand how to reach the various sectors of the child care workforce.

How to prepare:

See the above recommendations for L.A. County providers.

Derderian said Pasadena will likely partner with local pharmacies, Huntington Hospital and create vaccination sites to distribute shots when they're available to child care workers.

Stefanie Ritoper contributed to this story.

This story was last updated Friday, Feb. 26.