In support of a White House effort to remove barriers to vaccine access, YMCAs serving more than 500 communities in 38 states are offering free, drop-in child care during vaccination appointments for parents and caregivers who need it. The offering is the latest in the Y’s efforts to help ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines and provide children a safe and enriching environment to grow and thrive.
“The Y is committed to supporting equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans,” said Kevin Washington, the president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of the USA, in a statement. “As the nation’s largest nonprofit child care provider, we know lack of access to child care can be a barrier for parents and caregivers, particularly in marginalized communities. Vaccinations are critical to fully and safely reopening our communities and returning to normalcy, so the Y is doing our part to reach the White House’s goal of 70% of adults with at least one dose by July 4.”
The free, drop-in child care is the latest offering by Ys to provide safe and enriching places for children to learn and grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. When schools shut down last March, more than 1,400 YMCA sites offered child care to first responders and essential workers, and expanded child care and day camps provided support to parents over the summer. As children returned to school last fall, more than half of all Ys worked with local school districts to provide some form of virtual learning support, including transforming Y facilities into virtual learning spaces.
Ys across the country have also worked to ensure equitable access to information about the COVID-19 vaccines and to the vaccines themselves. Ys have provided communities with accurate information about the vaccines, served as vaccine distribution centers, and partnered with public and private entities, including state and local health departments, CVS and Lyft to help ensure those who want to receive the vaccines can.
Parents and caregivers are advised to contact their local YMCA to learn if it is offering free, drop-in child care during vaccination appointments.