- Survey conducted among 2,500 adults on Monday (8 February) found that 44% believe vaccinating childcare professionals would ensure childcare settings can remain open to provide education, care, structure and routine for children
- One in three (33%) said having childcare settings open would mean parents can return to full productivity at work
- Seas Suas Chair: “classifying childcare professionals as ‘key workers’ on the current vaccination roll out plan would see our sector vaccinated over the coming months rather than later in the year when it is simply too late and too risky.”
86% of Irish parents with children under 12 years of age believe that childcare professionals should be classified as ‘key workers’ in the Governments vaccination roll out plan, according to survey results published today (Wednesday).
According to the survey, conducted by Amárach Research among 2,500 adults on Monday (8 February) and commissioned by early education and childcare representative group Seas Suas, 64% believe that childcare professionals should be classified as key workers because they are essential frontline workers in roles where social distancing is not an option in caring for children.
82% of all Irish adults believe childcare professionals should be classified as ‘key workers’ in the roll out plan. The early education and childcare sector is currently open for children of essential and frontline workers and vulnerable children.
Childcare professionals are currently eleventh in the Government’s fifteen-phase rollout plan. Reclassifying childcare professionals as key workers would place them in the sixth phase of the rollout.
When asked why they believe childcare professionals should be prioritised for vaccination and classified as key workers, the survey found:
- 57% believe that vaccinating childcare professionals will ensure early learning and childcare can continue to be provided for the children of essential and frontline workers and vulnerable children;
- 44% said it would ensure childcare settings can remain open to provide education, care, structure and routine for children at this time;
- Over one in three (33%) were concerned about productivity at work saying that having childcare settings open would mean parents can return to full productivity at work so sector professionals should be vaccinated;
- 18% believe it will protect children from any risk of infection;
- 38% believe it will ensure that education and care can continue to be provided without interruption, as there will be fewer staff absences associated with Covid-19 sickness and self-isolation;
- 15% said it would speed up the country’s economic and social recovery.
The research results follow a call from Seas Suas – the representative organisation for independent early education and childcare providers – last week for early years professionals to be classified as “key workers” in the Government’s vaccine rollout programme in an open letter to the Taoiseach.
PROPOSAL TO THE TAOISEACH
In its proposal to the Taoiseach, Nphet, NIAC, the Minister for Health and the Minister for Children, Seas Suas said that the early learning and childcare sector is particularly important in caring for the children of essential workers and healthcare professionals, who are desperately needed in hospitals during a critical phase of the pandemic response – both in terms of our ICUs and the vaccination roll out programme.
In justifying its proposal, the letter cited the need to protect childcare professionals who are essential and frontline workers and ensure the safe and sustainable return of all children to education and care while also making the case for working parents who require childcare to get back their full working day.
Regina Bushell, chair of Seas Suas and managing director of Grovelands Childcare has once again called on the Taoiseach and Minister Donnelly to recognise the sector for “what we are and what we are doing. We are essential workers providing essential childcare services and so should be classified as such on the vaccination roll out list.”
“We work in a sector where social distancing is not an option in educating and caring for young children. It’s important that we take every measure possible to protect childcare professionals against this virus and ensure that we can continue to do our jobs for children and for parents, many who are currently on the frontline and those who are experiencing high levels of stress in trying to double up as carers, educators and full-time working professionals.
“Central to that is recognising childcare professionals as key workers, number six on the current vaccination roll out list which would see our sector vaccinated over the coming months rather than later in the year when it is simply too late and too risky.
“We are key workers and central to the functioning of society and the recovery of our economy in these challenging times so must be recognised and protected.”