State COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plans

Last updated January 6, 2021.

In December 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved two COVID-19 vaccines for adults. States are now planning how to give out the vaccine based on recommendations from the CDC while there are still very limited doses available. The CDC recommends that health care workers and long-term facility staff and residents receive the vaccine first. The CDC then recommends that people ages 75 and older and frontline essential workers, including child care providers, receive the vaccine next.

Child Care Aware® of America is reviewing each state’s plan to understand where child care providers fall in line. We are also advocating for providers to be treated equitably as a first step in ensuring access. As plans continue to evolve, we will update this page with helpful information.

The Role of States in Vaccine Distribution 

States and local governments also play an integral role in the distribution of the vaccine. States submitted their interim plans to the CDC in mid-October 2020. Their plans were based on the CDC’s Interim Playbook, which emphasizes close collaboration between public health, external agencies and community partners. Jurisdictions had to plan for three phases:

1. Limited supplies of vaccine doses available; 

2. Large numbers of vaccine doses available; and 

3. Enough vaccine doses for entire populations.  

States are continuing to update their plans as more federal guidance and information about the vaccine is released.  
All state’s plans must include 15 critical areas (such as administering capacity, tracking, managing inventories, distribution priorities, etc.). But, they have flexibility with the components of their plan and are not required to follow federal recommendations. The National Academy for State Health Policy found a couple of key differences when comparing initial state plans: 

• The number of phases states have often vary, which makes it difficult to compare phases among states. States use between two to five phases, with some using subcategories within a phase (i.e., 1-A, 1-B)

• Some states have detailed which populations would be covered in different phases. Others only list who’s included in the first phase or two, and are waiting on more federal guidance before making further decisions.   

State Vaccination Plans and Child Care  

girl gets her temperature taken before entering school building

To date, 38 states have specifically mentioned when child care providers can get the vaccine. These plans are reflected in a chart below
Who does the term “child care worker” apply to within the plans? It’s often not clear if the definition includes all delivery settings, child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs), or others in the child care system (like licensing staff). Our coalition partners at Homegrown and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) have asked for more clarity around family child care and family, friend, and neighbor care. States like South Dakota and West Virginia, have broad categories like “teachers” and “education staff,” which may include child care providers, but again, the language isn’t clear.

So far, in the 38 states that include child care providers in their plans, they are included along with K-12 educators. Child care and K-12 teachers are usually prioritized after health care workers. States, such as Nebraska and Oregon, have still not yet noted when child care providers will be able to access the vaccine. They are waiting for more federal guidance before determining prioritization in future phases.  Florida is breaking with the federal recommendations for its Phase 1B by just including those who are 65 years and older and not including frontline workers, such as child care providers.

State Vaccination Plans that Include Child Care Providers

COVID-19 Vaccination Next Steps 

Please note that state plans are not yet final and are expected to change as more information from the CDC becomes available. If you’re in a state that hasn’t noted when child care providers can get the COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to reach out to your state and local policymakers to learn more about when those details will be included.  

CCAoA will update this page with updates in state plans as they become available. We will work with our members and expert advisors on our Public Health Task Force to share information about COVID-19 vaccine access and distribution with the child care community. 

Let Us Know What You're Seeing

Please contact Diane Girouard, State Policy Analyst, with any vaccination plan updates happening in your state at: Diane.Girouard@usa.childcareaware.org.