OUR LATEST NEWS & IMPORTANT CHILD HEALTH CARE UPDATES
What do you do when the kids are still unvaccinated? The answers will not be easy. Families will make different decisions based on their preferences. There will be more than one reasonable approach.
It has come to our attention that some parents have concerns about vaccinating their children against COVID-19 because they have heard the vaccine might cause fertility problems in females.
Where did this idea come from and is there any truth to this claim? We would like to take this opportunity to discuss, so let’s talk about the science.
The COVID-19 virus has spike proteins on its surface. (Most of us have seen the pictures of the COVID-19 virus with those knob-like structures projecting off the surface). The COVID-19 virus uses these spike proteins to infect cells in our body.
COVID vaccines use parts of these spike proteins to trigger an immune response and antibody production in people who receive the vaccine. This immune response and antibody production is what gives us immunity against the COVID-19 virus after we either receive the vaccine or become infected with the virus.
A very small section of the COVID spike protein is similar to a placental protein. The concern widely distributed across the internet is that antibodies produced when receiving the COVID vaccine will mistakenly target and attack this placental protein and cause pregnancy loss and infertility.
Proteins are large, complicated, folded up molecules that are produced by the body based on a chemical recipe. It is common for proteins with very different effects on the body to have some chemical similarities. Having similarities in small parts of the recipe does not mean that the proteins are the same, and the human body is very good at seeing the differences.
As an example, if you are baking a chocolate cake or a pizza, you will need to use flour in each recipe. But, once you mix the ingredients together to make the finished product, no one would ever mistake a chocolate cake for a pizza simply because they both contain flour.
The same is true for the COVID spike protein recipe and the placental protein recipes. The similarity in recipes is extremely small and the finished product is very different.
Pediatric Associates supports the CDC recommendation that children ages 12 years and older should be immunized to protect against COVID-19 infection.
We will have vaccine in our offices for those ages approved and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Please read our statement regarding the vaccine and use the form at the bottom of the page to sign up.
This week marked an unusual return to school. Whether in person, through remote learning, or some combination of the two, this has certainly been challenging for both families and schools alike.
As pediatricians, we use the updated CDC recommendations to determine the need for COVID-19 testing. Current testing is based on a child’s symptoms plus exposure risks that include: close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, the current level of COVID-19 in the community, and potential exposure risks from travel. Please read the CDC policies on screening students K-12 for COVID-19, and pay close attention to the return-to-school recommendations.
Since school has started, it has come to our attention that if a child is sent home from school with any symptoms of illness, some schools are requiring clearance from the child’s pediatrician, AND a COVID-19 test in order to return to school. Although this requirement for a COVID-19 test for every student before they return to school may not align with the CDC recommendations and the clinical decision making of physicians, we understand that schools have made these rules to keep everyone safe in a very challenging environment. If your child is sent home from school due to a symptom of illness, we will support you through the return to school process as required by your school.
Appointments are available at Pediatric Associates for a medical provider in our office to evaluate your child if they are sent home from school. We are unable to write a note to clear your child unless we see and evaluate them in person. Right now, COVID-19 testing is not yet available in our office. We are on a waiting list for a shipment of rapid COVID-19 tests that can be performed as a nasal swab in our office with results in 15 minutes. Unfortunately, we do not yet know when this shipment will arrive but will keep you posted on our website.
Returning to school is therefore a 2-step process: a visit to the pediatrician plus an off-site COVID-19 test (see bottom of post for COVID-19 testing sites). Current test results are typically available within a minimum of 24 hours and your child must remain at home in quarantine while awaiting test results.
We will continue to do our very best to support our families through this back to school transition and will keep you updated as recommendations and requirements change over time.
Effective immediately, all patients, both sick and well, will be entering the building through the front entrance. If your child is sick, please remain in your car when you arrive, and call our front desk to check in. We will call you in when a room is available, and you will enter through the front of the building to that room. When your appointment is complete, you will leave out the back door of the building. If you are well, you may come right into the front entrance to check in. When your appointment is complete, return to the front desk only if you need to schedule a follow up well appointment. Otherwise, please leave out the back door of the building.
We will continue to update these guidelines for our office as needed, based on changing volumes of sick and well patients, and to maintain social distancing within our building. We remind you that we ask only 1 well parent to accompany their child/children during an office visit (except for newborn appointments), and that faces should be covered with a mask or other similar covering when entering the building.
Thank you to all of our families for working with us during these complicated times. We are very pleased with how well things have been going in our offices and we owe that to our families, staff and nurses for their hard work and for graciously accommodating us as our guidelines continue to change and evolve over time.