In the wake of the measles outbreak at a Palatine, Illinois KinderCare, the national daycare provider has announced a policy change that requires vaccination among all staff who work with children under the age of 15 months.
KinderCare Learning Centers, which has 1,500 locations nationwide in the United States, noted the requirement in a letter to parents posted online on Thursday. The letter also states that the operator is collecting vaccination records for all staff members and is limiting access to infant rooms to both adults dropping off or picking up an infant and immunized staff.
Children under the age of 1 are especially vulnerable to measles infection because infants cannot receive the first dose of the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine until 12 months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends all children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, with the first dose given between 12 and 15 months and the second dose between 4 and 6 years.
As outlined in the letter, KinderCare has taken the following measures to prevent further infections and outbreaks:
- We are requiring all staff working with children under the age of 15 months to be
- vaccinated because those children cannot receive the vaccination.
- We are also limiting access to the infant rooms (and ones rooms with unvaccinated
- children) to parents or other adults dropping off or picking up an infant and immunized
- caregivers and field management personnel.
- If you combine classes with the infant room at the beginning or end of the day, all staff
- and all children combined with the infant room must be immunized; otherwise, the rooms
- should not be combined.
- We are collecting records of vaccination against measles for all our staff.
- We ask that you provide us with any updated vaccination records that are not already
- part of our records.
- As always, we are going to be vigilant about enforcing our policy of excluding children
- from care who are sick. We ask that you join us in that effort by keeping your child out of
- the center when he or she is exhibiting symptoms with a fever until the fever resolves
- without medication.
- Also, we will continue to reinforce proper hand washing with our children, as that is often
- the best defense against the spread of disease.
The policy change also applies to Children’s Creative Learning Center, or CCLC, the second brand owned by Knowledge Universe, the parent company of KinderCare Learning Centers. Knowledge Universe previously followed local health guidelines and did not require all staff to have vaccinations. Illinois, for example, lacks state vaccination requirements for daycare staff.
The policy change has brought concerns from both pro-vaccination and anti-vaccination parents who wonder whether the company could exclude unvaccinated children from attending. Although KinderCare also urges vaccines for all children attending the daycare centers, the company does not currently require vaccination:
“While is not a requirement for children who attend our centers to be vaccinated, we highly encourage parents to speak with their family doctor about immunizations for their children, and we work closely with each family to be sure our immunization records are up-to-date, we understand that some children are unable to be vaccinated — for medical reasons and or for religious reasons — and we do not exclude those children from our centers.”
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by the measles virus that is spread through contaminated droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of an infected individual. Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways in which the measles virus is passed from person to person.
KinderCare Changes Policies After Measles Outbreak: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-measles-chicago-reax-0207-20150206-story.html
KinderCare Letter: http://www.kindercare.com/uploadedfiles/documents/measlesletter.pdf
KinderCare Mandates Staff Vaccinations After 5 Infants Catch Measles in Illinois: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/kindercare-mandates-staff-vaccinations-infants-catch-measles-illinois/story?id=28781242
KinderCare Requiring Measles Shots for Infants’ Caregivers: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/kindercare-requiring-measles-shots-infants-caregivers-28776414
KinderCare Requiring Measles Shots for Some Workers: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150206/NEWS07/150209823/kindercare-requiring-measles-shots-for-some-workers
Kindercare Daycare Nursery: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kindercare_Day_Nursery_-_geograph.org.uk_-_644079.jpg