COVID-19 and the Head Start Community

Vaccine Success Stories from the Field

The stories below showcase some of the different ways Head Start grantees are working to ensure positive vaccine experiences. Some programs have become vaccination sites or created partnerships with local pharmacies and health departments to successfully improve their staff’s access to the vaccine. Others have been using COVID-19 funds to support the vaccine effort, such as offering paid leave for the time spent receiving their vaccination or providing transportation assistance to vaccination locations. We also know grantees are successfully using and implementing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Toolkit for Teachers, School Staff, and Childcare Workers and other resources to increase staff comfortability and understanding of the vaccine.

Explore examples of how grantees are finding innovative ways to make the process of getting staff vaccinated a more positive experience. Have a story to share?

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Father using a mask while holding his baby.

Vaccination Clinics with a Local Pharmacy

Benton Franklin Head Start, Richland, WA

The Benton Franklin Head Start program partnered with a local pharmacy to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Staff and their families received their first vaccine with a follow-up clinic planned in three weeks. During the next clinic, first and second vaccine doses will be offered, as appropriate.

Vaccines for Tribal Home Visitors

Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Grand Ronde, OR

When the vaccine became available to the tribal home visitors workgroup, one home visitor expressed that she wanted to be vaccinated. She had a short discussion with her supervisor vaccine eligibility based on prioritization categories. The supervisor called the tribal clinic to learn how the home visitor should go about making an appointment. The vaccination appointment was made almost effortlessly since the supervisor had already placed the call and made the appropriate information so easily accessible. The home visitor got vaccinated within two hours. 

Family Advocate Advocates for Vaccination

Head Start of Washington County, Inc., Hagerstown, MD

When the opportunity to get vaccinated presented itself, this family advocate knew right away she wanted the shot. She hopes to have a full building again next year and knew the vaccination was one way to help make that happen. Being in the classroom as a family advocate is so important to know how to talk to parents about their children. So, getting vaccinated for the workplace was a no brainer for her. This family advocate also has an 8-month-old and a 2-year-old at home to protect. She hopes for nothing but the best for everyone!

Essence of Excellence

Head Start of Lane County, Springfield, OR

The essence of excellence is achieved and maintained through the sustained purposeful and focused action of staff who work toward the same mission: ensuring our youngest children have a solid foundation for life. 

Head Start of Lane County's can-do attitude exemplifies this statement! Their first drive-thru vaccination clinic was held at the Whiteaker Head Start center located in Eugene, Oregon. It was open to all Head Start and Early Head Start families, friends, staff family, friends, as well as those who walked, drove, or biked by and asked if they could get the COVID-19 vaccine — the answer was yes!

It took many hands to make this event come to life. Food for Lane County provided high-quality groceries and Bags of Love were given to children to help with their emotional well-being. Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance (ERSEA) staff were on site to register and recruit families. Countless other staff volunteered their time to set up, push, pull, haul, and direct traffic while cheering all to good health! The benefit was 60 people received their first dose, along with the feeling of friendship, community, and connection.

Drive-through Vaccine Event

Clayton Early Learning, Denver, CO 

This grantee held two COVID-19 vaccine events that included staff, families, and community members. Teachers received their second shot on Friday, March 19, 2021. Community members and families drove through the parking lot to receive the vaccine. The grantee also used this time to recruit and hand out food and supplies to those in need. Clayton has two Early Head Start grants.

Partnership with Local Pharmacy

District 4 Human Resources Development Council (HRDC), Montana

The HRDC Community Action Program (CAP) agency in rural northern Montana reached out to their local pharmacy and was able to have the vaccine administered at the Head Start/Early Head Start site for all staff. A great partnership initiated by the grantee.

On-site Vaccine Clinic

Southern Oregon Child & Family Council Head Start, Oregon

This program organized and hosted an on-site vaccine clinic on Friday, Feb. 22. Dozens of people who work with vulnerable babies and children got vaccinated during this drive-through clinic, and 13 lucky senior citizens on a waitlist received leftover vaccines at the end of the day.

Teacher applying sanitizer to a child's hands.Parking Lot Vaccine Event

Southern Oregon Head Start, Oregon

Nurse Dixie Ramsay administered the shots to workers from Head Start programs and other organizations that work with local families. Jackson County Public Health provided 68 shots for the one-day parking lot vaccination clinic held in Central Point. On Friday, March 12, Southern Oregon Head Start hosted their second vaccine clinic where 93 individuals were vaccinated.

1,000 Vaccinations in One Weekend

Capitol Region Education Council, Hartford, CT

This grantee distributed 1,000 vaccines over a weekend in early March 2021.

Makeshift Vaccine Center

Southeast Kansas Community Action Program (SEK-CAP), Girard, KS

This program is operating as a vaccination center for community members and SEK-CAP staff from their Central Office location.

Teacher using a mask while standing in her classroom.COVID Response Team with Local Organizations

Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), California

LACOE is partnering with Children’s Hospital to become a vaccination satellite site. In March 2020, with the onset of the pandemic, LACOE started the COVID Response team. It included major players in Los Angeles (LA) County, such as the Department of Public Health (DPH), Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, First 5 Los Angeles, and the City of Los Angeles.

Through this work, LACOE started advocating early for the early childhood education (ECE) workforce to be a priority and considered as essential workers. This resulted in DPH including LACOE in the county’s master plan for vaccinations. Once Tier 1B opened on March 1, the concern evolved into how to get the vaccinations done for ECE field in a timely manner. LACOE was then asked to participate as a distributor of vaccines to the larger community to help to expedite access to vaccinations for ECE workforce. LACOE Head Start Early Learning Division quickly responded to this call for support and has taken on building awareness and distributing the vaccines for all Head Start programs in LA County and California state preschool programs. LACOE is routinely being notified of vaccine availability and its distribution. They receive a weekly allotment from the department of health and this allotment varies from week to week.

Campus Becomes Vaccine Site

San Joaquin County Office of Education, California

Some San Joaquin County Office of Education campuses have served as a vaccination site since February 2021.

More than 500 Vaccines Distributed

Lake Family Resource Center, California

This program hosted a vaccination day and distributed over 500 vaccines to the community.

Partnership with Local School Districts

Stanislaus County Office of Education, California

Stanislaus County Office of Education is working with nine local school districts to become a vaccination site.

Vaccination and Testing Sites

Multiple grantees, Rhode Island 

Three grantee programs in Rhode Island are serving as vaccination sites. Vaccines at Comprehensive Community Action are only available for staff and patients at this time. Tri-County’s CAP Health Center is providing vaccines to all eligible populations. Easy Bay Community Action Program is also a testing site.