Open letter to Boris Johnson: Priority COVID-19 vaccinations for early years workers
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
10 Downing Street
8th January 2021
Dear Prime Minister
Open letter: Priority COVID-19 vaccinations for early years workers
We are writing to you as the UK’s largest online childcare platform with nearly 2.5m members, including the vast majority of registered childminders, nurseries, nursery workers and nannies in the UK.
We support keeping early years settings open to all during the current national lockdown but have grave concerns about the health and safety of early years workers who appear to have been somewhat forgotten.
It is widely reported that the new variant of COVID-19 spreads more easily in young children and whilst young children may generally not encounter severe symptoms from the virus, recently published ONS data shows that the rate of infection in children from the age of 2 is climbing steeply. As such there is a strong likelihood of young children in early years settings spreading the virus to early years workers, many of whom are likely to experience more serious symptoms and even death if they were to catch the virus from a child in their care.
For this reason, the government must prioritise vaccines for early years workers, especially registered childminders, who are caring for children from multiple households in their own homes.
Further, the government should provide early years settings with access to fast tests that can be used within the setting for their workers.
We believe that the sector has largely been ignored by government, despite early years carrying out a crucial role in the coronavirus (COVID-19) response, by enabling the parents of other critical workers to go to work whilst their children are being cared for.
To help support this initiative, Childcare.co.uk would like to offer to make a contribution to cover the unit costs of vaccinating every registered childminder in the UK, if this can be achieved by 31st January 2021.
Please do contact us to discuss our proposals further and take urgent action to ensure the early years sector receives the utmost protection and support during the pandemic.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health
Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education
Vicky Ford, Minister for Children
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