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COVID-19 Update 1/11/22

With the return to in person learning and seasonal illnesses, our practice is experiencing record setting volume. We try hard to manage as much as we possibly can in house to prevent overload on others in the healthcare system, but unfortunately testing supply & staffing shortages make that difficult. We’re struggling to accommodate our patients to the best of our ability and have had to make some sacrifices.

Calling & Visiting Us

  • Phone lines are now open 8:00am – 5:00pm. All urgent matters will be triaged by our nurses who can involve additional resources as appropriate. Due to increased visit volume, non-urgent call backs from your provider may take up to 48-72 hours.
  • For January & February 2022, we’re hoping to delay any non-essential visits. We will continue well care, especially for children/adolescents in need of vaccines or other acute issues, but may ask your family to delay non-essential care when able.
  • We require all adults & children over 2 years to wear a mask/face covering when visiting our office & throughout your visit. Masks protect both you & those around you, and generally speaking, most children have adapted well to regular mask use. Please note that we will not write letters of exemption from mask wearing except in cases of extreme physical or mental disability.
  • Only one parent/guardian (no siblings, please) should accompany the child to his/her visit whenever possible. Exceptions to this rule include newborn visits.
  • All patients visiting our office will be verbally COVID screened and directed to the appropriate waiting area.  Positive responses will not jeopardize your ability to be seen but rather help us wear the appropriate PPE & sanitize properly.  Our medical assistants work hard to get our patients roomed as quickly as possible, particularly infants.
  • For patients/parents/guardians with current COVID infection or currently in quarantine, we kindly ask you to reschedule your non-urgent/well visit.  
  • We continue to take appropriate precautions to decrease germ transmission within our office by limiting crowding, regular cleaning, frequent handwashing, & wearing personal protective equipment.

Testing for COVID-19

We are able to provide COVID testing for patients who are ill.  Depending on volume & the type of testing available, results are expected in 1-2 days and will be uploaded to the patient’s MyChart account. We do not write orders for testing to be done outside of our practice.

Symptomatic – available

We generally prefer to see symptomatic patients in office so that we can do a physical exam & ensure there are no alternative diagnoses before ordering testing. When available, we try to utilize rapid PCR testing & results are expected same day. We strongly suggest maintaining access to your MyChart account – lab results are posted there in real time so often, you will be notified of results before our providers get to review labs during lunchtime or end of day!

We are not able to perform confirmatory PCR testing after home antigen testing. If your child’s school/other is requiring confirmatory testing, please use this tool to locate a testing facility or try other options like Curative.

Asymptomatic exposures to COVID-19 – Unavailable as of 12/8/21

With our high volumes of sick patients, we are unable to offer testing for asymptomatic exposures at this time. Patients who do not have symptoms but were directly exposed to COVID infection may need testing after exposure depending on several factors. Visit the MA Department of Public Health website for complete instructions (updated 12/28/21) on how to handle a direct exposure to a positive COVID case. Use this tool to locate a testing facility, or try other options like Curative,

Travel or pre-participation testing – Unavailable

As of 8/18/21 we are no longer able to offer testing for travel/pre-participation due to supply shortage.  

Testing Positive for COVID

COVID results get published to MyChart as soon as they result. Positive results will receive additional clinical guidance via MyChart message only and will include details on quarantine, household exposures, and cardiac clearance for return to activity. We ask all families to review these recommendations and only call with additional questions if necessary.

On December 28, 2021, the CDC updated their recommendations for quarantine after testing positive for COVID. The CDC hasn’t clearly defined how to handle COVID positive younger children who cannot consistently mask & are unvaccinated, so we continue to recommend 10 day quarantine for that group (especially toddler age and younger) which is a recommendation endorsed by the DPH.

One of the most common questions we get is how to handle continuous exposures for household members who cannot isolate in the home. Generally, if a household contact is continuously exposed to your COVID positive child, day 1 of their quarantine would be after the child’s 10 day quarantine period (positive child’s count starts on first day of their symptoms or COVID positive test if asymptomatic).

Vaccination for COVID-19 

On May 10, 2021, the Pfizer COVID vaccine was granted emergency use authorization for children age 12+ years, followed by approval for 5-11 year old on November 2, 2021.  Our providers have all received the COVID vaccine and feel comfortable recommending it for our eligible patients.  Please rest assured that though the vaccine development process seemed fast, we trust the strict guidelines already in place. 

Demand for this primary vaccine series and boosters is high & we need to keep our phone lines open for parents/guardians of sick children.  Please do not call the office regarding COVID vaccine.  We are offering a limited amount of vaccine appointments, but we encourage you to utilize other state & local health care organizations, schools, and retail pharmaciesIf you or your child has had recent COVID infection, vaccine/boosters can be given 14 days after positive result.  

COVID Vaccine for 5-11 years – Available

For this age group, the dose will be 1/3 of the adult dosing with a second dose due 21 days after the first.  

  • Clinics – Available
    We will be primarily vaccinating our patients via a series of clinics in Woburn.  Appointments are required & should be scheduled via MyChart, but you need to wait to be notified that a scheduling ticket has been uploaded into your child’s account. Both patients & their MyChart proxy accounts (parents/guardians) will be notified when the invitation to schedule has been uploaded via MyChart notification/e-mail. Please note that vaccine availability will be first come first serve & we are not keeping a waiting list. 
  • Scheduled Well Visits – Available
    If your child has a scheduled well visit, eligible children may receive COVID vaccine at their appointment.  If  you have an eligible sibling you’d like to bring along, please call ahead.
  • Other Local Facilities 
    Check with pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS, Target, Stop & Shop, etc.), urgent care clinics (PM Pediatrics, Carewell, AFC, Minute Clinic, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, etc.), and other facilities (schools, local boards of health, Passport Health) on their availability & what age they vaccinate. Children who have chronic medical issues followed by specialists may be able to access vaccine via their hospital clinics.  There are also many other facilities offering vaccination. 

COVID Vaccine for 12+ Years – Limited Availability in Woburn only

The formulation for the pediatric dosing is a bit different than that of this age group. We have a small amount of this vaccine available by appointment only so please call the office to schedule for this age group as scheduling tickets are not available at this time. 

Booster Doses – Limited availability in Woburn Only

CDC recommends COVID vaccine booster doses for individuals 12+ years to be given 5-6 months after primary vaccination series.  Remember that 12-17 year olds will need to get the Pfizer vaccine only.  We have a limited amount of Pfizer vaccine available for boosters and appointments can be scheduled via MyChart.

Visiting Us For A COVID Clinic/Vaccine Appointment

We look forward to seeing your child for his/her COVID vaccine appointment!

Preparing for your appointment:

  • Review the Pfizer Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which includes what to do about any side effects.  EUA can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download
  • Complete all pre-visit questionnaires on MyChart and be sure your most recent insurance information is on file.
  • Please adhere to your appointment time.  Due to space constraints, only one parent/guardian is permitted to accompany the child to his/her COVID vaccine appointment.
  • Cancel your appointment if you or your child has any COVID symptoms, a pending COVID test, or recent exposure to known COVID infection.

Visiting us for your appointment:

  • Remember to bring you child’s vaccination card for their second or booster doses!
  • Masks are required & please remember to socially distance.
  • Please alert us if your child has ever fainted with any vaccine!
  • Only the COVID vaccine will be administered at your clinic appointment and we will NOT be equipped to offer flu vaccine during these clinics.
  • After being vaccinated your child will need to wait in the office for a 15 minute observation period. 

After your COVID vaccination:

  • Mild side effects like sore arms and headaches do occur.  Please refer to the Pfizer Emergency Use Authorization and call us for any symptoms of severe allergic reaction.
  • In the week following your child’s first vaccination, our office staff will connect with you to manually schedule your child’s second dose appointment (at least 21 days after the first dose). 

If you have any questions, we kindly ask you to connect with our office before your appointment!

Post-COVID Infection Cardiac Clearance

As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we now know there have been limited reports of cardiac effects from even mild COVID infections.  The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending clearance for return to sports/activity after COVID based on factors including severity of symptoms & intensity of sport/activity.  Children of all ages with moderate COVID infection (>4 days of fever, etc.) will need a clearance visit three weeks after COVID infection.  Parents should connect with our nurses to determine the best course of action before returning to activities, and once the patient is determined safe to return, a gradual return to play will be recommended.

Additional Information & Resources