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Gov’t must respect and prioritise early educators for Covid vaccine

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As parents express thanks and gratitude on Early Childhood Educators’ Day today, they are calling on the Federal Government to step up, respect this critical workforce and prioritise vaccination for early educators.

Over the past seven days, nearly 1000 children aged under nine have tested positive for Covid-19 in NSW and 1700 children under 5 have Covid nationally.

There are now 176 early learning services closed nationally as a result of the latest Delta wave of the virus, 137 of which are in NSW. Several early learning services have also been listed as tier-1 exposure sites in Victoria.

The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent said, “Early childhood educators are essential frontline workers who fulfil the invaluable role of educating, supporting and caring for children and their families.

“They do not have the luxury of working from home so they have turned up, day after day, and accepted the risk to their own health to ensure children are educated and cared for.

“Unlike last year, it’s now clear early childhood education and care services are sites of Covid transmission and the Delta strain poses greater risk for both children and educators.

“Early educators are essential, invaluable frontline workers who deserve to be vaccinated as early as possible. This is the least Australia can do for this phenomenal workforce.“

The Parenthood supports a petition signed by more than 4,500 Australians urging the Federal Government to ensure all early childhood educators have priority access to a vaccine.

“The nation’s early educators deserve better pay and conditions as well as long-term government planning to address urgent workforce challenges,“ Ms Dent said.

“Children having access to high quality early learning and care is life-changing. It improves health, education, social and economic outcomes over the course of a child’s life. For children with any disadvantage, the benefits increase exponentially.

“It is time for urgent Federal government action to ensure early educators are appropriately valued, supported and paid,” she said.

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