Vaccine Information for School Staff & Childcare Professionals

 

General Vaccine Information:

Vaccine Eligibility for Education and Childcare Professionals and Staff – CT State Website

Latest Information on the COVID-19 Vaccine – CT State Website

COVID Vaccination Promotional Resources – CT State Website

Vaccine Eligibility Information as of 2/22:

All Pre-K through 12th-grade educators and staff who work onsite with students, as well as childcare professionals, are eligible to start scheduling and receiving the vaccine beginning March 1st.

Please refer to the descriptions below for more detail.

COVID Vaccine
Certified Staff:
• Classroom Educators PK-12 (including DSAP & LTS)
• Student and Educator Support Specialists – Special Education, School Counselors, Social Workers, SLP, School Psychologists, etc.
• School Nurses
• Building & Central Office Administrators
• Non-classroom based certified personnel; Content Area coaches, Department Chairs, Curriculum Specialists, Technology Specialists
COVID Vaccine
Non-Certified Instructional Staff:
• Paraprofessionals
• Tutors
• Interventionists
• Behavioral Specialists
• Contracted Support Specialists – BCBA, Speech, etc. 
• District/Building-based Substitutes
COVID Vaccine
Non-Certified Support Staff:
• Custodial & Maintenance Staff
• Food Service Staff
• Office Administration Staff (Building & Central Office in schools)
• Security Personnel
• Nurse Office Aides & Staff
• Library/Media Center Support Staff (if not certified)
• IT Staff
• Athletic Coaches & Extra-Curricular Advisors (if not certified)
• Bus/Van Drivers LEA & Private Companies
• Substitute teachers
• In-school volunteers
COVID Vaccine
Childcare Professionals:
• Childcare Teachers, Assistant teachers, paraprofessionals
• Administrative staff with in-person contact with parents and children
• Program support staff who have regular in-person contact with children
• Childcare transportation professionals
 
*Not eligible: Board of Education members, off-site staff working remotely or in non-school buildings; non-licensed home childcare providers, adult and higher education professionals and staff

Vaccine Information for Childcare Providers:

As of March 1, 2021, licensed and license-exempt child care and youth camp professionals and support staff working in Connecticut are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The guidance on this page will help answer questions you might have about how to get ready for the vaccine and how the process works.

Read Governor Lamont’s press release from February 22, 2021, which announced the eligibility of child care providers and staff.

What programs and staff are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Starting March 1, 2021, eligible child care providers include currently-operating:

  • Child care centers
  • Group child care homes
  • Family child care homes
  • Youth camps
  • Child care programs operated by a local board of education or municipality

Eligible staff include people who work in these settings, such as:

  • Teachers
  • Family child care home providers
  • Birth to Three providers who offer on-site services to child care programs
  • Substitutes and assistants (including student interns)
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Custodial and food service staff
  • Bus drivers
  • Administrative or other staff with direct care responsibility

A few specifics about eligibility:

  • If you’re planning to work in a summer youth camp, you’re not eligible yet. Providers and other staff at youth camps (and other programs that are not open) become eligible starting 60 days before the program opens. So for example, if your camp opens on July 1, you become eligible for the vaccine on May 1.
  • At this stage in the vaccine rollout, family members in family child care homes are not eligible to get the vaccine (unless they are otherwise eligible based on their age or employment in a phase 1a healthcare category).

Unlicensed home-based child care providers such as relatives, au pairs, or nannies are not eligible for the vaccine as child care or education providers (unless they are eligible based on their age).

I’m a provider or staff member who’s eligible — what happens next?

Because local health departments across the state are still finalizing the vaccine administration details, they’re asking providers and educators to be patient for a little longer. 

In early March, OEC will have more details to share on this page. By that time, you can also expect to receive more specific guidance about how and where to get the vaccine directly.

  • Employers will provide information to staff at a child care centers and group child care homes
  • Local health departments will provide information to family child care providers and child care center and group child care home employer coordinators

Keep in mind that the process will vary from town to town. Some local health departments will use the state’s Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) and some will not. Most providers will be able to go to a vaccine clinic that’s been set up specifically for child care and school staff in their community.

I’m the administrator of a child care program — what do I do next?

Again, local health departments and districts are asking providers to be patient while vaccine distribution plans are finalized. But here’s an overview of what you can do and what will happen next.

1. Get your roster ready

It’s vital to have an up-to-date roster of eligible staff — with each staff member’s name and individual email address — so health departments will be able to send out emails to set up appointments. We offer a template you can use on our website. You can also use OEC’s Background Check Information System (BCIS) to create your roster. Learn how to use BCIS to prepare your roster.

2. Wait for more information

You can expect to hear from your local health department or district soon about vaccine clinics in your area soon. Make sure to respond to this message promptly. State officials are supporting local health districts with this vaccine rollout. They’re also identifying other options for districts that do not have the ability to set up a clinic capable of accommodating all child care and school staff.

3. Give local health departments time before contacting them with vaccination requests

If you don’t hear from your local health department or clinic in early March, you can reach out to them directly. At that time, you can also call 2-1-1 or explore vaccine scheduling options on the state’s COVID-19 Response site.

 
What about child care programs and youth camps that are not under OEC oversight?

Some license-exempt child care programs — such as programs administered by municipalities or public school systems — are not overseen by OEC. If you have such a program, reach out to your employer to find out how you’ll be able to access the vaccine.

Where can I get more information about the vaccine?

We’ll update this page with additional guidance as it becomes available. You can also learn more from the DPH COVID-19 Response website.

DPH also has a series of helpful factsheets and videos on the vaccine. Explore DPH’s vaccine resources.

Watch a video of our OEC vaccine webinar from February 24, 2021, which included staff from the Office of the Governor, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Education.

Frequently Asked Questions:

SCHEDULING YOUR VACCINATION

Are only teachers eligible in the next vaccination group?

All Pre-K through 12th-grade educators and staff who work onsite with students are eligible to start scheduling and receiving the vaccine beginning March 1st. This includes:

  • Teachers, paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, and in-class volunteers
  • Custodial staff, food services workers, and school bus drivers
  • School Resource Officers and contracted social services and mental health professionals who work with students in schools
  • Before- and after-school program staff
  • Coaches
  • In-school administrative staff
  • Childcare professionals
  • Board of Education members, Adult Education, Higher Education, and staff not working in schools are NOT eligible unless they meet the appropriate age-band

For more information, check out Vaccine Eligibility for Education and Childcare Professionals and Staff.

How do I get an appointment?  Do I have to go through my school/school district? Will I have to show identification?

By March 1st, you should expect to hear from your employer and/or your local health director about options for appointments to receive your first dose. The state is committed to ensuring that our school and childcare professionals have at least one dose administered in March. We expect that closed clinics will be available to school personnel, childcare workers and others in the coming weeks as vaccine supply grows. Individuals eligible to receive vaccine because they work with children in childcare or pre-K through 12 settings must bring verification of their employment to the vaccine clinic. Such verification could include an employee ID card, a paystub, or a letter from the employer.  

I live in town X but teach in town Y, where do I get my vaccine?

You will receive options from your employer/school district by March 1st for how and where you can make appointments/receive the vaccine.

I teach at a boarding school, are we eligible?

Yes, educators and support staff working onsite at private schools are eligible to start scheduling and receiving the vaccine beginning March 1st.

Will Birth to Three staff be a part of the child care vaccine priority group?

Birth to Three Staff who work in child care settings will be considered child care staff for purposes of the vaccine priority.

Are college professors eligible?

No, only educators and staff for Pre-K through 12th grade are currently eligible for the vaccine. Otherwise, you may be eligible based on your age.

I work in a childcare center, am I eligible?

Yes, childcare professionals living or working in CT are eligible for the vaccine beginning March 1st.

I am a CT resident, but I teach out of state.  Am I eligible?

If you are age 55 or over, you are eligible.  However, if you are younger than 55, you are only eligible to receive vaccine if you work in a CT school district.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory?

No.  The State of Connecticut is not mandating vaccination.  

Can I get the vaccine if I live outside of the State of Connecticut? What if I work in Connecticut, but don’t live in Connecticut?
You are eligible to receive vaccine in the State of Connecticut if you live or work in the State of Connecticut. If you live outside Connecticut, but work here, you must provide proof of your employment in Connecticut in order to receive your vaccination here. If you neither live nor work in the State of Connecticut, you are not eligible to receive vaccine in the State of Connecticut, even if your primary medical provider is in the State of Connecticut. If you do not live or work in Connecticut, you should receive vaccine from your State of residence when you are eligible based on their requirements. 

Can people who have already have COVID-19 get the vaccine? 
Yes.  The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19 because you can catch it more than once.  You can receive the vaccine any time after you are done with your isolation period and your symptoms have resolved, but since you have antibodies for that 90 day period and re-infection is not likely during that timeframe, you can also choose to wait until after 90 days to get immunized.

PRIVACY

If I get a vaccination, where will my information go? Can I be sure it will be kept safe?
Your personal and health care information will be kept private, and will not be shared outside of your healthcare provider’s office, and the Department of Public Health. Personal identifying information such as your name, contact information, and address will be treated as confidential health care information and will not be shared with law enforcement or the federal government without a court order or similar legal compulsion.

GETTING THE VACCINE

Where do I go for a vaccination? 
When you are eligible for a vaccination, you will most likely work through your medical provider, or the employer coordinator at your workplace to learn about the specifics of your eligibility requirements. Vaccines will be able to be administered in a wide range of places: physician’s offices, hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, and other locations that would normally administer vaccinations.  

I don’t have state-issued identification, will I be able to get a COVID-19 vaccination?
Yes, you can still be vaccinated. No person will be turned away based on their ability to show ID. While sharing your contact information may not be required to get a vaccine, staff at the vaccination site may ask individuals for an ID, but this only applies to people who have one. Individuals should bring an ID, if they have one, to verify the name and eligibility information they submitted to the vaccination appointment system, their insurance information if they have insurance, and their employment in Connecticut if they work but do not live in the state. Individuals can still get the COVID-19 vaccine without insurance or an ID.

Am I going to be required to carry verification that I’ve been vaccinated? 
No. Although your provider will make sure that their records reflect you have received the vaccine in order to most effectively treat you in the future.  

Can I get a certificate that says I am vaccinated?

Most providers will give you a card when they administer your first vaccine dose that notes the date and reminds you of your next appointment to receive the second dose.  The State is currently exploring options for providing some form of vaccine verification beyond the cards in use now by vaccine administrators.

VACCINE TYPES

Is there a difference between the vaccinations that I can take? 
There are only small differences, but both vaccines currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are highly effective based on trials. Below, you’ll see some basic details about both.  

Vaccine Age Requirements Recommended Time Between Doses 
Pfizer  16+ 21 days
Moderna  18+ 28 days

Do I get to choose which vaccine brand I want to receive? 
In general, given scarce supply, only one vaccine may be available through your provider. You can talk with your medical provider if you have specific questions or concerns that may lead you to want to seek out one specific COVID-19 vaccine versus another.  

Can I choose the vaccine that says it’s the most effective?

Getting the vaccine, regardless of the brand, will protect you from severe illness, hospitalization and the risk of death from COVID-19.

Can I choose to get a one-dose vaccine? I don’t have time for two shots.
Currently the only vaccines available require a two-dose course for full protection against COVID-19.  One-dose vaccines may soon be available depending on authorization by the FDA. However, they will be in scarce supply for some time, and not every provider will have access to them, so the choice will be limited by the provider.

THE SECOND DOSE

How do I know when to schedule my second vaccination? 
Most providers will ask you to schedule your first and second vaccination at the same time and will help you set up reminders via text, email, or phone call about your second dose.  

What if I miss my second shot, or cannot find an appointment for 21 (for Pfizer)or 28 (for Moderna) days after my first shot – is it a problem if I wait?
No. You do not need to get your second dose exactly 21 (for Pfizer) or 28 (for Moderna) days after your first shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advised that the second should be taken up to 42 days of the first dose. However, the CDC has also indicated that you do not need to start the shots over again if you go beyond the 42-day window for the second shot. It will still be effective.

VACCINATION TRIALS

How do we know the vaccines are safe? 
The Pfizer vaccine alone had a trial of over 40,000 people over a period of many months without any serious incidents. No vaccines will be available to the public without the review of the federal government and the Science Subcommittee of Governor Lamont’s Vaccine Advisory Group. In Connecticut, we continue to make every decision with public health as a number one priority.  

Since the vaccine is so new, how do you know there won’t be long-term health effects from taking it? 
Because all COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinates to learn about very rare or possible long-term effects.  At least 8 weeks’ worth of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines and it’s unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination. 

SAFETY & VACCINE RISKS

Can I still get COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated? 
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. However, if you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine may prevent serious illness.

What are the side effects of the vaccine? 
Those who receive the vaccine may experience mild symptoms of COVID-19 and soreness at the site of injection. Information about rare allergic reactions to the vaccination can be found on the CDC website

Is it safe to get vaccinated if I have an underlying health condition? 
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity.  People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. It is recommended that people with these conditions get vaccinated. Individuals who have had prior allergic reactions to injectable medicines should consult with their medical providers before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.  

I’ve had allergic reactions to other shots, can I get the COVID-19 vaccine? 
You should talk with your provider about what allergies may make it risky for you to get the COVID-19 vaccination, but, it has proven safe in the vast majority of instances.  

Can I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant or nursing? 
Yes. 

Is the COVID-19 vaccination safe for children?
Vaccinations are only authorized for those over 16 at this time, and more research needs to be done to develop a vaccine for children, but we are hopeful that there will be an update in the future.

Can people who have already have COVID-19 get the vaccine? 
Yes. The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19 because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last. 

How do we know the vaccines are safe? 
The Pfizer vaccine alone had a trial of over 40,000 people over a period of many months without any serious incidents. No vaccines will be available to the public without the review of the federal government and the Science Subcommittee of Governor Lamont’s Vaccine Advisory Group. In Connecticut, we continue to make every decision with public health as a number one priority.  

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19? 
No.  None of the COVD-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. 

Does this vaccine cause infertility? 
No. This is a rumor. 

I have a food allergy, can I get the vaccine? 
Yes. Information about the COVID-19 vaccination and allergies can be found on the CDC’s website.

I have seasonal allergies, can I get the vaccine? 
Yes. Information about the COVID-19 vaccination and allergies can be found on the CDC’s website.

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19? 
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19.  However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.

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