Covid-19

COVID VACCINATION NEWS:

You've heard the news! The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has now been approved for emergency use in children ages 5-11. We at Pediatric Associates of Wellesley recommend the vaccine as part of an all out effort to protect your family and end this pandemic. We are committed to vaccinate all of our patients in that age group who would like to get the vaccine ASAP. 

The dose of the vaccine is 1/3 of the dose given to 12 years and up, with a booster dose 3 weeks later. 

We want to thank our patients for the incredible interest and response to the Covid vaccine clinic for 5-11 year olds on 11/13.    Unfortunately at this time the clinic is completely booked.   If you your child was not able to get an appointment you can message us to be put on a waiting list for our next clinic.  In addition, you could try your local pharmacy or a Mass General Brigham clinc at the folowing link: covidvaccine.massgeneralbrigham.org. 

(FOR THOSE WHO REGISTERED ALREADY- CLINIC INFORMATION IS BELOW)

We are excited to take this next step to end the pandemic together on Saturday. It will be a busy day and we appreciate all your help in making it go smoothly. This message includes a lot of important information, therefore please read it carefully. 

- What to Expect 
- Guidelines for Observation 
- Consent Form 
- Vaccine Information Sheet 

Vaccines will be given only by appointment. ALL VISITS WILL BE IN OUR WESTON OFFICE, regardless of location listed in Gateway. Please let us know if you will not keep your appointment. Please be prepared to return for the second dose at about the same time on Saturday, December 4, from 1:00-5:30. 


What To Expect 

We will vaccinate 600 kids on Saturday afternoon! We plan on a fun, safe and efficient day. We expect the whole process to take between 30 and 45 minutes from the time you park (depending on how long we have to observe your child after the vaccine, see below). We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we embark on this adventure together! 

Before you arrive: 

Please review the Vaccine Information Sheet 
Please print and sign a Consent Form. You will need a signed consent form to get into the line for vaccines. 
Dress warmly and in layers. We'll need to get to your child's upper arm easily, however the observation area will be outside. 

When you arrive 

Parking: We will have a staff member in the parking lot to help with traffic flow. Please only bring one car per family, or even better, consider dropping off one parent and your child(ren). There will be a police detail on South Street. 
When you enter the building you will check in, and be given an encounter form. 
You will then be directed to rooms 1-5 to get the vaccine 
In the room you will give a medical assistant the encounter form and be asked screening questions to determine how long you will have to wait after the dose (see below). 
After the shot, you will be given a sticker that designates how long you'll be observed, then proceed down the hall where you will complete your child's COVID vaccine card. We will also have staff available to collect names of people who cannot come to our second dose clinic on Saturday, December 4 from 1:00-5:30. (We will find a time or place for your child to get this second dose). 
You will then go down our back stairs to the observation area in our covered garage. This area will be blocked off from cars and we will have some entertainment to make the wait as fun and safe as possible. 
Once your observation period is over, we ask you to leave and vacate a parking space as soon as possible. 


Guidelines for How Long to be Observed After the Dose 

Most children are to be observed for fifteen (15) minutes after they receive their dose. We will observe your child for thirty (30) minutes if they have had: 

A severe allergic reaction to a food, medication, venom or animal that required an Epipen. 
A history of severe allergic reaction to another vaccine (this does not include high fever or rash). 
A documented allergy to: 
Polyethylene Glycol ( in Miralax) 
Polysorbate (found in some vaccines, film coated tablets and IV steroids). 

 

Helpful Links: 

Vaccine Information Sheet: https://www.fda.gov/media/153717/download 
Consent Form: https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-vaccination-consent-form-for-individuals-ages-5-17-english-1132021/download 


In summary: We're excited to do this together. Dress your kiddo in a warm coat over a T-shirt, bring a signed consent form, your patience and good cheer! See you Saturday!  

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The doctors of Pediatric Associates all recommend the COVID 19 vaccine as part of an all-out effort to end this pandemic. 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 effective, 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, is to have as many people as possible get vaccinated. It helps your child, your family and your community.  There is enough information to conclude that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks. If we wait, we miss the chance to prevent many cases and hospitalizations of COVID19 in the age group, some that may be severe. 


Below please find extensive information about the vaccine for Mass General Hospital for Children: 

The Covid-19 vaccine is here for children ages 5-11 years-old! This is their shot to get back to a more normal life after months of isolation and masking.  While the decision for some to vaccinate their children may feel confusing, the best we can do as parents is to make an informed decision based on the scientific information available.  This handout will teach you more about the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine approved for this age group and will address common myths and misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines in general. 

What vaccine is available for my 5 to 11-year-old? What is the schedule and the dosing?  The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been endorsed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and approved for emergency use in this age group.  This vaccine is given in 2 doses, 21 days apart.  Two weeks after the 2nd dose, your child is considered fully vaccinated. Each dose is 10 micrograms compared to 30 micrograms for patients 12 years and older.  The lower dose was found to be both very effective and safe in younger children, as their immune systems are stronger. 

What are mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and how do they work?  Unlike many other vaccines, mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines don't contain parts of viruses or bacteria. Instead, they work by teaching the body to recognize the virus in the future.  The Covid-19 virus looks like a ball covered in spikes.  The mRNA vaccine teaches your body to make spikes out of proteins that look just like the spikes on COVID-19 but aren't actually the virus. After getting the vaccine, the immune system recognizes the spikes shouldn't be there and produces antibodies (disease fighting proteins) that get rid of them. These antibodies then remember what to do if and when your body is exposed to the virus in the future.  After the mRNA coaches your body how to make the spike protein, it is broken down and leaves the cells in just a few hours. 

What are the ingredients in the Pfizer vaccine?  The Pfizer vaccine contains the mRNA for the spike protein, lipids (fats) to help the mRNA get into the cells, and a salt and sugar buffer to keep the vaccine stable until it is ready to be given. There are no preservatives, no latex, no eggs and no metals in the vials.  There are no tissues, gelatin or any materials from animals. 

How many children were in the Pfizer study and how many got Covid-19 infection?  In the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds, 1,518 children received the vaccine and 750 received a placebo (an injection that had no vaccine).  3 children in the vaccine  group and 16 children in the placebo group got COVID-19 infection. This data shows an efficacy rate (how well the vaccine prevents disease) of 90.9%. 

What were the rates of side-effects for children participating in the Pfizer vaccine study after the 1st and 2nd doses?  The most common adverse effect was pain at the injection site (71%).  Reactions occurred more frequently after the 2nd dose including: 
" fatigue (33% after Dose 1  |  39% after Dose 2) 
" headache (22% after Dose 1  |  28% after Dose 2) 
" chills (5% after Dose 1  |  10% after Dose 2) 
" fever (5% after Dose 1  |  13% after Dose 2) 
" aches (9% after Dose 1  |  12% Dose 2) 
" lymphadenopathy and rash (both 0.9%) 

There were NO reports of myocarditis, blood clots, anaphylaxis or death. 
Most side effects go away within 1-2 days and are a signal that the immune system is learning how to protect your child's body against the virus.   

Why should I consider getting my child vaccinated when kids don't usually get that sick from COVID-19?   
The vaccine is very effective in preventing severe illness and death in children and adults. With the emergence of the delta variant, more children are getting the virus (now approximately 27% of cases). Although COVID-19 infection in children is typically milder than in adults, this does not mean that an infection comes with no risk.  Some previously healthy children infected with coronavirus get severe lung infections and multisystem inflammatory syndrome causing them to get very sick and require hospitalization. In the United States alone, millions of children have had Covid-19, over 23,500 have required hospitalization (many in the intensive care unit), and over 600 have died. 

"No parent should have to lose their child to a vaccine-preventable illness if we have a vaccine that can be deployed that is safe and effective." - Dr. Peter Marks (Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research) 

" Even mild cases of Covid-19 may not be as trivial for kids as they seem.  The journal Nature reports that as many of 10% of infected children under age 12 have symptoms of COVID that last longer than 5 weeks. Many teens whose cases of COVID were mild, or even asymptomatic, are experiencing troubling cognitive effects lasting for months and impacting their school and sports performance.  It is still also unclear what late complications of even mild childhood COVID will arise over the next decades.  Vaccination will lower the risk of "long COVID" and longer-term complications from acute infection. 

" The vaccine helps prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19 among family members and friends in the community, including those who might be at higher risk when infected.  There are still over 1,000 people a day dying of COVID in the U.S.   

" The vaccine can help stop other variants from emerging. Getting the vaccine reduces the virus' change to mutate into new variants that may be more dangerous. 

Does the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine cause mycocarditis (heart muscle inflammation) in children? Myocarditis has been reported as a very rare side effect (~1 in 20,000 people) after the 2nd dose of mRNA vaccines primarily in males ages 16-29 years-old. It is very important to put this information in context and weigh the risks and benefits.  The risk of getting myocarditis after Covid-19 infection is much higher than the risk of getting mycocarditis after vaccination.  There were no cases of myocarditis in children ages 5-11 years old in the Pfizer vaccine study. In older children and young adults that developed myocarditis after vaccination, cases were mild and resolved quickly.  Compare this to the ~75% of cases of myocarditis that developed in children with COVID MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children), many of which were severe with long-term effects. 

Do COVID-19 vaccines reduce fertility?  There is no scientific research that Covid-19 vaccines affect or reduce fertility.  In phase 3 trials of mRNA vaccines, 18 women in the placebo group (received no vaccine) and 18 women in the vaccine group became pregnant.  As described above, the mRNA in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines does not stay in cells after it coaches the body to make the "spike" proteins. 

Do COVID-19 vaccines alter your DNA?  The chances that mRNA vaccines can alter your DNA are not small, they are ZERO! In order to alter DNA, the vaccine would need to be able to enter the cell nucleus and to be reverse transcribed. Neither is possible since the vaccine contains no signals to get into the cell nucleus.   

Hopefully after reading this, you feel more informed about making a decision about vaccinating your child.  Remember that parents and other family members can also protect their children by getting vaccinated themselves!   

"We are not going to get control of this pandemic until we vaccinate the unvaccinated." 
- Paul Offit, Director of Vaccine Education Center Children's Hospital of Philadephia 

 

 

------------

OLD news: OFFICE VISITS

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. 

 

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 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OTHER HELPFUL LINKS: