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COVID-19 Update 11/12/21

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 shortages make that difficult. We’re struggling to accommodate our patients to the best of our ability and have had to make some sacrifices.

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.

Calling & Visiting Us

  • Our front office staff will determine how best to handle your call.  Symptomatic patients will be advised to make an appointment for an in person visit.  Depending on age, patients with history of a direct exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be advised to schedule a virtual visit OR be referred elsewhere.
  • 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.
  • 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.   

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!

Asymptomatic exposures to COVID-19 – limited

Patients who do not have symptoms but were directly exposed will need testing on day 3-5 after exposure depending on several factors. Due to limited testing supplies, we are only able to manage direct exposures for patients age 3 years & under here in our office.

Patients 3 years and younger must schedule a virtual visit with one of our providers before we can order testing to be done in our office. Tests will be sent out & results are expected in about 48 hours, which is reasonable considering that those exposed must quarantine for a minimum of 7 days.

Patients over 3 years with direct exposures need to visit an alternate testing site for COVID testing. We recommend using this tool to locate a testing facility. Please note we will not write any orders for testing to be done outside of our practice.

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.  

We understand the inconvenience caused by limiting our testing available in office, but it’s critical that we have supplies available for symptomatic patients.  Please use this tool to locate a testing facility near you.  We strongly encourage calling ahead to inquire about each site’s procedures, how long results take to return, and what your insurance may or may not cover.

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. Here are some great resources on the Pfizer vaccine, but please call us with any case specific questions or concerns:

COVID Vaccine for 5-11 years – NOW AVAILABLE!

Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization and is approved for 5-11 year olds, we’re ready to vaccinate our eligible patients! The dose will be 1/3 of the adult dosing with a second dose due 21 days after the first.

Demand for this vaccine was much greater than we anticipated.  We sent out scheduling invitations to all eligible patients, anticipating the slower response we had with our adolescents.  Unfortunately clinics filled very quickly leaving us scrambling to alter our plans.  We expect additional vaccine shipments in the coming weeks and will announce once we’re able to add additional clinics/nurse appointments.  In the meantime, we need to keep our phone lines open for parents/guardians of sick children, so please do not call the office today regarding COVID vaccine.  

Here’s how we plan to offer COVID vaccine for this age group:

  • 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, & what their hours are.  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.  If your child is vaccinated elsewhere, please send us a non-urgent MyChart message with the date and location of administration so that we can update your child’s medical record.

COVID Vaccine for 12+ Years – Limited Availability

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.  Please call the office to schedule for this age group (scheduling tickets are not available at this time).

If this clinic is not convenient, this vaccine is widely accessible elsewhere and we welcome you to take advantage of state & local health care organizations, schools, and retail pharmacies.

Booster Doses

We will follow CDC recommendations for COVID booster doses, which currently call for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals to receive a (Moderna or Pfizer) booster dose. Individuals that qualify include, but are not limited to, those receiving cancer treatments & organ transplant patients on immune suppressive medications.

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:

  • 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

Please note that