Quebec private daycare associations want COVID-19 vaccination priority for caregivers

Private daycare associations are calling on the Quebec government to prioritize the vaccination of their staff and warn parents of the risk of service breakdown as long as the employees are not vaccinated.

The Association of Private Day Nurseries of Quebec (AGPQ) and the Association of Non-Subsidized Day Nurseries (AGNSI) are asking the provincial government “to grant daycare staff special recognition and to offer them the vaccination against COVID-19 in order to maintain services.”

The two associations fear the effects of the third wave on the workforce.

“With the variants, we are starting to have a lot of concerns about the staff,” said Samir Alahmad, president of the AGPQ, to The Canadian Press.

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 Alahmad said that every day, educators who have symptoms notify their employers at the last minute.

These educators must take a screening test, wait for the negative result before returning to work, and when one of them is infected with COVID-19, they must be placed in isolation for two weeks.

“It’s a headache to manage for managers, but also for parents who lose their daycare,” Alahmad said.

READ MORE: Five more municipalities to enter lockdown as Quebec reports 1,252 new COVID-19 cases

The president of the AGPQ said that he is calling on the Legault government to vaccinate all educators in private daycares by the end of April.

“Unfortunately, there is no indication for the moment that we will be part of a priority group,” Alahmad said.

He argued that immunologists believe children are potentially more contagious with the variants.

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He therefore maintains that educators are now more at risk of contracting the virus.

The labour shortage in daycares is accentuated by the third wave, according to the AGPQ and AGNSI, and several private daycare services recently notified parents that groups could be closed due to lack of staff.

The AGPQ and AGNSI have approximately 120,000 child care spaces in the province.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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