NEW YORK — Most child care workers in the city will be required to be vaccinated under the new rule announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily news briefing on Thursday.
The rule expands the mayor’s requirement that teachers in the city’s public schools be vaccinated, and the new requirement goes into effect Sept. 27.
Charlene McGirt owns All About the Kids Day Care. It’s based out of her home in the Melrose section of the Bronx. Before she was able to open for business, the city required her to undergo training, be registered and licensed, and submit her fingerprints and background checks. The mayor’s new order adds one more requirement for some people in her profession.
“I already took the first one already,” McGirt said about her vaccination regimen. “I’m just waiting to take the second one.”
Getting sick would mean problems for the kids she oversees; she wouldn’t be able to take care of them.
Her day care is in the Bronx, which has the lowest rate of vaccinations among the five boroughs of New York City.
The new order from the mayor is designed to change the situation, but it will apply only to certain day care workers.
“For all city-contracted childcare and after school staff,” Mayor de Blasio said.
His order affects about 24,000 workers, according to the Dept. of Education. Many of them provide 3-K and pre-K programs for the city, which contracts with the day cares to ensure that as many children as possible get access to early learning programs.
Most of the child care providers with which the city has contracts are members of the Day Care Council of New York, a coalition of providers. Tara Gardner is the organization’s executive director.
“We definitely encourage vaccination among staff, among volunteers , among visitors,” she said.
Despite that encouragement, however, Gardner acknowledged that “there’s a percentage [of child care workers] that don’t agree with vaccinations and don’t want to get vaccinated. We don’t have the precise and exact numbers on that,” she said, but she added that the majority of workers at the day cares in her coalition are already vaccinated.
At the M&M Academy WeeCare in the Bronx, there is no room for unnecessary health risks.
That’s why its owner and operator is embracing the latest COVID vaccine mandate.
“I feel good because I want everyone to be safe, the owner said. “I did my vaccines a long time ago.”
Getting the rest to get COVID shots is a vital step in improving the city’s health, said Dr. Dyan Hes, chief medical officer of Gramercy Pediatrics.
In her position, she’s treated COVID cases in children, and closely studies new developments in the fight against COVID.
“What we saw from the peak of the pandemic,” Dr. Hes said, “was [that] it wasn’t the children giving the teachers the virus. It was the teachers giving the virus to the children.”
“I feel much better that the teachers and the caretakers are going to be required to be vaccinated,” she said.