Dear P.A.W. Family, 

The doctors of Pediatric Associates all recommend that everyone over the ages twelve and older get the COVID 19 vaccine.  You can register your child through Gateway with MassGeneralBrigham, or at a state site or large pharmacy. In the future we may be able to offer the vaccine in the office, but not yet.  We know some of you struggle with the decision whether to vaccinate your child, especially the younger they are. While we know the vaccine is very effective in the 12-16 year age group, some people have concerns about safety.  Under normal circumstances vaccines are tested for longer periods of time before they are given to our patients. However, the pandemic is anything but normal circumstances. The only way we all get back to "normal" with less COVID illness as well as less isolation, anxiety/depression and more activity and in person learning is to have as many people as possible get vaccinated. It helps your child, your family and your community. 

 Vaccinations given in massachusetts will be electronically added to your childs immunization record through the state registry.

Though the risk of COVID in our state as significantly decreased, we remain vigilant in keeping our office clean and as risk-free as possible. We are now seeing both sick and well visits in the office, and our well waiting room is open for well patients who are vaccinated. As we are a medical facility, EVERYONE in the office, staff and patients included- is still required to wear a mask. We are still offering convenient, drive-up COVID-19 testing for our asymptomatic patients who need it for travel or work reasons.  Please be aware that you must call our office first to arrange a test.  Sick patients will be evaluated in the office first and tested in the examination rooms.  We perform anterior nare PCR tests (not the "brain biopsy" ones); results come back between one to two days.

Here are some guidelines to help you understand the timing of tests: 

If your child is ill, please call the office for a virtual appointment so we can determine whether and when a test is needed. 
If your child has COVID-19, she/he/they are contagious from two days before until ten days after the onset of symptoms (provided they have been fever-free for 24 hours). Follow-up testing is not routinely recommended because a test may remain positive for 90 days after a diagnosis of COVID-19. 
If your child has a known exposure to someone who has COVID-19 (that is, has been within six feet for more than fifteen minutes without masks), your child should stay home and be tested on day five. If the test is negative, the quarantine ends on day seven. The day of exposure counts as day zero. 
If someone in your house tests positive for COVID-19: 
If the affected person is old enough to quarantine within your home (no unmasked contact with family), others should be tested on day five. If the test is negative the exposed person's quarantine ends on day seven. The most recent day of contact is day zero. 
If your children are young and cannot be isolated from the affected person, they should be tested on day fifteen after the onset of symptoms of the person with COVID-19. If the test is negative, their quarantine ends on day seventeen. (An example: Jack and Jill are young siblings. Jill gets COVID-19. She is contagious for ten days after the onset of her symptoms. The last day of her being contagious counts as the first day of Jack's seven-day quarantine. Jill can go back to school on day 10, but Jack cannot go back until seven days later after he gets a negative test five days into his quarantine).

A few last points about COVID-19: 
Some teams and schools require sports clearance for anyone who has had COVID-19. We are happy to see anyone for whom this is a requirement, yet we believe it is only necessary for anyone who had symptoms of significant cough, shortness of breath or fatigue for more than ten days. We recommend that anyone who had any symptoms of COVID-19 return to sports slowly over the course of a week. 
And, finally, some good news: experience now suggests that kids, especially those younger than ten years old do not readily spread COVID-19 to one another. If they get it, they tend to get it from adults. While every family must judge risk for themselves, these data suggest that masked play-dates, especially outside, are safe. Friends, play, and fresh air are all vital to children's (and parents') good health and happiness. 

We hope that with increased vaccination rates, and warmer weather life will start to look normal again. 

All of us at Pediatric Associates send you strength and comfort. Please know we dedicate everyday to your childrens' health and we are honored to be a part of your family's journey. 

With hopes for good health and better times, 

The Staff and Physicians of Pediatric Associates of Wellesley