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Childcare workers want vaccination age lowered

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:55 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Pfizer requested that the FDA extend the vaccination age for their COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as ages 5-11.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 dashboard’s most recent data surrounding COVID-19 cases in the state show 7,780 COVID cases across the state between childcare and K-12 schools, with 4 deaths.

The dashboard shows Onslow County has 15 total clusters with 3 of those coming from childcare facilities.

Daycare workers at Children’s Castle say they have experienced the challenges associated with childcare and the pandemic firsthand.

“It’s hard to keep staff. Not everybody is cut out to work in childcare. We have a lot of kids with different behavioral issues; and just learning how to deal with those kids[...]It’s hard to keep staff. Not everybody is cut out to work in childcare. We have a lot of kids with different behavioral issues, and just learning how to deal with those kids,” said Amber Coffman, a two-year employee of the daycare.

Daycare directors say they have had several instances during the pandemic where they have had to have partial closures of classrooms due to staff and children testing positive for COVID-19.

“Have one in one classroom and then we have had teachers that have contracted it and gone through a couple of classrooms in which we had to close down for like 14 days at a time,” said assistant director of the daycare Ida Faison.

Faison in favor of the vaccination age extension saying, “I think that it would help a whole lot to put some minds at ease. It would definitely help as far as education goes.”

Despite the rigors of caring for unvaccinated children and the challenges that come with staffing shortages, when asked why she continues to care for children through the pandemic Coffman said, “I mean honestly if we weren’t here giving childcare there wouldn’t be nurses, or a police department, or anybody out there doing their job because they have kids. You know what I’m saying? So, we’re here taking care of everybody’s kids so other people can be out their working.”

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