What parents need to know about childcare workers and the vaccine

"It should be something that is talked about."
Posted at 8:07 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 08:07:59-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Dr. Chad Rudnick, a local pediatrician, said many parents are now pondering childcare questions as COVID-19 vaccinations ramp up.

“It should be something that is talked about,” he said. “We want to protect everyone who is unable to get vaccinated. Once it becomes more readily available, we certainly want to protect those people around our children.”

Dr. Rudnick said parents could consider making sure close contacts, who come into their home, are vaccinated.

“Similar to what we have recommended with babies and young children who have had nannies or other caretakers, or even family members who care for them in the home, consider having those family members vaccinated against things like the flu and making sure they’ve had an updated whooping cough vaccine,” he said. “That’s always been part of the recommendation, and it should be no different with the COVID vaccine.”

Ultimately, it is a family choice.

“I think that is something for each family to have to decide,” said Dr. Rudnick.

Nicole Anderson, CEO of MEND HR Solutions in West Palm Beach, said this topic is something she is coaching on.

“Someone coming into your house, if you are paying taxes on them, have them employed as a W-2 employee, then you can require it (the vaccine),” she said. “I always recommend strongly recommending the vaccine instead of requiring it. Generally, you get more people willing to say 'OK, I will go get it' versus requiring them to get it.”

Anderson said it’s important to listen to your employee’s concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, if they have any.

“Not just listening to respond, but actively listening to them,” she said.

Anderson said be ready to make a decision.

“If you know that you want someone who is vaccinated, and this person is not going to get vaccinated, know what you are going to do,” she said.

Anderson said make sure to understand any potential health issue that could prevent them from getting vaccinated. One alternative for a household employee could be providing reasonable accommodations, like masks and temperature checks.

“Having them report if they have been in contact with anyone with COVID. Requiring quarantine if they have been in contact,” she suggested.

Anderson said a casual babysitter would fall under a different category.

“If you are just paying them $20 to come baby sit, you have a little more leeway to say, I’m sorry you’re not vaccinated you are not babysitting,” she said.

Both Dr. Rudnick and Anderson said they think this is the beginning of considerations to come.

“I think this brings up kind of the next layer of question where parents are going to be able to ask ‘OK, is my child’s teacher next year going to be vaccinated? Or is my child’s camp counselor going to be vaccinated?’ It’s a question that parents should be allowed to ask,” he said.