ARVADA, Colo. — Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are available for children under 5, more than 5,500 young children have been vaccinated in the past week in Colorado. But parents at one Arvada daycare say a new policy punishes parents who get their children vaccinated.
Parents reaching out to Contact Denver7 about Foundations Early Childhood Education requested we protect their identities as they desperately search for a new childcare provider.
"I think they provide a safe place for children to be, but this policy changes our opinion of that," said one parent.
The parents are concerned about Foundations' new COVID-19 vaccination policy. It requires children "stay home for 7 full days after each dose." The Pfizer vaccine requires three doses, while the Moderna vaccine requires two.
"I just don't think it's fair, and I think it's discrimination to discourage children from getting vaccinated," said one parent.
In an email to parents, the owner cites "many unknowns" about the vaccine.
"Our fear is that a child will have an injury or side effect from the vaccine while in our care and the school/employees will be held liable," she wrote.
Parents are required to sign a form suggesting vaccine side effects could include "paralysis and death."
"Not observed," said Heather Roth, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's immunization branch chief, who added that the side effects are the same as any other vaccine. "They're nothing out of the ordinary. They're temporary. They go away in a couple of days."
Roth stated that CDPHE does not recommend implementing policies like the one Foundations is requiring parents to sign.
"There's a reason why this younger age group has been recommended to receive these vaccines, and that's to keep kids out of the hospital. It's to keep kids alive," said Roth.
To give some context, Contact Denver7 checked with multiple childcare providers and found not one had a policy similar to the one at Foundations. The more common policy is to encourage vaccinations, and if a child doesn't feel well, keep them at home.
Foundations' owner did not respond to Contact Denver7, but we learned that the Colorado Department of Human Services, which oversees childcare facilities, is also reaching out "to provide resources and education to this provider," a spokesperson wrote in a statement to Contact Denver7.
COVID-19 is not a required immunization for licensing, though, so Foundations is not violating licensing rules.
"Unfortunately, it puts us in a position where we're forced to either sign this form, which she's unwilling to reconsider, or find other care," said one parent, who is worried the extreme policy will be a hardship and a health risk. "I think it's also important to spread the word about what's happening and the misinformation that's being propagated so that hopefully this doesn't happen to other parents."
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