The Latest Update on COVID19 Vaccination for Children

Good morning!

As many of you know, the FDA has just authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 in the US. As the Washington Post just reported (5/10), this authorization was based on “a trial of nearly 2,300 adolescents between 12 and 15 years old, half of whom received the same two-shot regimen shown effective and safe in adults.”

Sound Beach Pediatrics is thrilled with the expanded offering of the vaccine to younger children. Dr. Henry and I encourage parents to vaccinate children 12 years and above.

We respect that some parents may be uneasy and opt to decline or defer vaccination. But, we strongly believe the benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks. The challenges for children during this pandemic, particularly for their mental health, have been tremendous. We are eager to see the pandemic further controlled and our patients’ lives return to normalcy.

In this very early stage, Sound Beach Pediatrics is not a vaccination site. The CT Department of Public Health has provided the following guidance this week:

  • To make an appointment: Log into the CT Vaccine Portal, which allows patients (and parents) to search for a vaccine provider nearest to you. Once results are returned, the locations display what types of vaccines are available at the locations listed, including Pfizer vaccines.
  • Other sites coming soon: Towns and school districts are planning some school-sponsored vaccination clinics. Parents can expect communications from participating school districts, or can reach out to theirs to inquire about available school sponsored clinics.
  • Administration of other vaccinations: The ACIP COVID-19 vaccine clinical considerations currently recommend spacing of 14 days prior to and following any other vaccines. But, please do not delay routine vaccinations for your children.
  • Setting expectations: According to the CT DPH this week, “No additional age expansion for children younger than age 12 years of age is expected prior to the fall of 2021.” Studies in younger children and infants are ongoing.

We will continue to keep you informed of important changes, and we eagerly await the authorization of the use of the COVID19 vaccine in our younger patients. On a personal note, my 17 year-old daughter (photo above) has already received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and my younger children will be soon to follow.

Wishing you good health and Happy Spring!

Dr. Katy and The Sound Beach Pediatrics Team

Dr. Katy shares her sunny outlook and practice’s enthusiasm for COVID19 vaccination for children

Sound Beach Pediatrics sees a bright future ahead with the growing availability of the COVID19 vaccine and its use in children on the horizon.

New Guidance for Patients with Recent or Prior COVID19 Infection

Dear SBP Families,

 

Dr. Henry and I wanted to reach out with an important update related to children, COVID19, the rare but serious potential for cardiac complications, and new guidance on return to PE and sports clearance. This is an important topic for all parents to understand – so please read on here and also visit our updated COVID19 Resources page.

Current data suggest that a very small proportion of children with COVID19 infection can go on to develop a serious condition called myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation). Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations or syncope (loss of consciousness).

Fortunately, most children are either asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic with COVID19 infection – this is published widely and is also what we have observed here at Sound Beach Pediatrics since the pandemic began.

Among experts and academic institutions, there is a general consensus that the risk of cardiac complications increases with more significant symptoms of infection. Sound Beach Pediatrics has reviewed the most recent AAP guidelines, as well as guidance from a number of academic medical centers. We are implementing a new protocol for post-COVID19 PE and sports clearance, without age specification given how active school-aged children are.

Moving forward:

  • If your child develops COVID19 infection, we will ask you to fill out our Daily Symptom Checker and to come in to our office for a follow up visit 2 weeks after symptom resolution.
  • Please connect with our office by phone or portal for fever/ fatigue/ chills/ muscle aches lasting 4 days or more.
  • Call us immediately for any symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, or extreme lethargy.

Retrospectively:

  • If your child has had confirmed COVID19 infection (or strongly suspected), please reach out to us and make an appointment to come in for an office visit.
  • We will review your child’s symptom history, perform a physical exam, and guide you on any next steps.

We expect recommendations will evolve as we continue to receive new information related to COVID19 infection and its complications. Sound Beach Pediatrics will keep you informed and continue to work collaboratively with our local schools as well, to ensure best processes.

Please reach out with any concerns. We care deeply for your children and their health and are grateful for the continued trust you place in us.

 

Dr. Katy and The Sound Beach Pediatrics Team

Happy New Year & Update

Dear SBP Families,

Thank you for the lovely holiday cards many of you sent our way and Happy New Year right back to each of you! We all hope you and your family are well and enjoyed the holidays. With the new year has come the expected surge in COVID19 cases and a significant increase in demand for testing. Dr. Henry and I, along with our entire SBP Team, are here to support your family during this challenging time.

Our phones continue to be very busy during this pandemic, so we encourage you to request appointments through our portal as an easy alternative to a phone call.

If you need a COVID19 test for your children and would like to order testing through our office (or you need COVID19-related guidance) please arrange a telemedicine visit with us. Here’s our updated workflow:

  • Monday-Friday: appointments provided during business hours 7:45am-5:00pm.
  • Saturday: appointments provided 9am-12:00pm.
  • *Saturday after 12 noon through Sunday*: please send in your testing requests by portal to your SBP primary care provider, with any relevant details. The on-call provider will respond by portal and arrange a follow up telemedicine visit at the appropriate time.

If you would like to pursue COVID19 testing elsewhere, alternative sites are available through 211CT.org

Please see our newly updated COVID19 Resources page, which now includes new links to address some of your more recent concerns – COVID19 vaccines, COVID19 variants, as well as interim guidance for CT schools related to the pandemic. This page is the foundation for much of the guidance we provide families every day.

We continue to see patients of all ages for well visits who pass our COVID19 screening questionnaire. We would ask you defer these appointments if you have had recent travel, exposure to COVID19, or any family members develop signs or symptoms of illness. If you wish, or circumstances require (such as illness or need to quarantine), you may also opt for a Tele-Well visit with a brief follow-up visit in the office for any vaccinations and recommended screening tests.

We continue to see our sick and urgent patients through telemedicine visits first, bringing select patients into the office as needed for an evaluation. As always, sick patients are kept completely separate from our well patients and brought in through the South Side door. Your cars are our extended waiting room (thank you!), enabling us to eliminate traffic in our waiting rooms.

Most of our testing for COVID19 is performed off site through Greenwich Hospital or Stamford Hospital. We continue to offer limited COVID19 testing through our drive-up, along with strep and flu testing as needed. Cheers to our staff who continue to brave the cold to see our patients in the parking lot!

We are thrilled that our SBP team is now being vaccinated against COVID19! We will keep you informed regarding vaccinations for children. Stay tuned ….

Your children bring us joy ~ thank you for the continued privilege to care for your family! We are grateful for your feedback, so please reach out through inquiry@soundbeachpediatrics.com or through our patient portal to share any thoughts or concerns.

Stay Strong!

Dr. Katy and the Sound Beach Pediatrics Team

“Healthy Living Doesn’t Stop During a Pandemic” ~ A Reminder to Family Members of All Ages

Dear Sound Beach Pediatrics Families,

Dr. Henry and I hope this message finds you well! With increasing community COVID19 spread, it is now more important than ever before to exercise caution and use discretion in our day-to-day activities. Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing continue to be the mainstays of disease prevention, mitigating COVID19 transmission and protecting those at highest risk. Please tell your children: “Keep your guard up, keep your mask up!”

Particularly during this pandemic, it is critical to make health and wellness a top priority for your family. Please continue to keep an eye on maintaining preventative care appointments not only for your children, but also for yourselves. It’s equally important to follow up on signs and symptoms of illness, knowing we have excellent community hospitals ready to help you in times of need. With this spirit in mind, and reflecting on my own near-miss with breast cancer, I just wrote a piece for Serendipity Magazine, “Healthy Living Doesn’t Stop During a Pandemic,” which I hope will provide each of you with renewed focus on your family’s whole health. (Click here to download a Wellness Checklist for your family!)

Many of you have been inquiring about the COVID19 vaccine for your family. We are just as eager as you are to see the vaccine distributed widely. As you know, priority will be placed in the early weeks on vaccinating our front-line health care workers and long-term care facility residents. We will keep you posted as we learn more from the CT Department of Public Health on details of the COVID19 vaccination program for children, and we will share AAP updates and our practice perspective with you as well. Dr. Henry and I suggest a look at this terrific AAP link to answer some of your questions.

Above all else, all of us at Sound Beach Pediatrics sincerely wish you and your family a special holiday season and good health. Like you, we look forward to 2021 with great anticipation!

Dr. Katy and The Sound Beach Pediatrics Team

Dr. Katy Coming Back Strong with New SBP Initiatives!

Dr. Katy returns to telemedicine next week! SBP opening more flu clinic days and expanding care for sick children in office starting in November!

Changes to Office Workflow

As of October 5, 2020

Our goal is to continue to provide outstanding health care to our families, while simultaneously protecting our patients and our staff from COVID-19 disease transmission. Based the latest guidance from the CDC, the AAP and Yale, Sound Beach Pediatrics has modified our workflow as follows:

Office hours remain the same:

  • Monday-Friday: 7:45 am-5:00 pm (closed for lunch 12:30-1:30)
  • Saturdays: 9:00 am-12:00 pm
  • Sundays: closed

Appointments can be scheduled during regular business hours.

Sick patients:

All sick patients during office hours will be seen initially via telemedicine visits. All requests for COVID19 testing (for any reason) will be managed through telemedicine visits.

  • Select sick patients will be seen at the end of the day at the discretion of our clinical providers after telemedicine screening. These visits will take place in designated “sick rooms” by providers in full PPE, separately from our well patients.
  • No walk-in visits at this time
  • Laboratory testing and referrals to the ER will be made as appropriate
  • For a true emergency, call 911 and go directly to the Emergency Room

SBP Drive-Up Testing (by appointment, after telemedicine visit):

  • Effective Monday October 5, we are offering testing for rapid flu, rapid strep, and COVID19 PCR (sent to Greenwich Hospital) through a designated, drive-up parking space in our parking lot.
  • The parking space is located near the back entrance – the space on the far-right corner, near the lawn area.
  • Appointments for testing will be available Monday-Friday afternoons.
  • Swabbing will be performed with the child seated comfortably but firmly restrained in the car by parent or care provider to ensure safety – passenger side, back seat, allowing our staff to approach your car on the passenger side.
  • A member of our clinical staff will perform any necessary testing in full PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • To ensure best flow and efficiency in our parking lot, any rapid strep and/or rapid flu results will be called to the parent after the drive-up appointment.
  • For your child’s safety, no physical exams are performed in our parking lot.
  • COVID19 PCR tests will be processed by the Greenwich Hospital Lab (just as before).
    • COVID19 results are generally back within 24h-48h.
    • Negative results will be sent to the portal.
    • Positive results will be called to the parent and also sent to the portal.

We expect significant fluctuations in demand for COVID19 testing and will also continue to refer patients as needed to Greenwich Hospital (or Stamford Hospital) for drive up testing. We ask for your understanding as we balance individual patient demands and our staffing day to day, with unknown volatile fluctuations of the pandemic in our community.

Well care:

Well care visits are provided through “face to face” in office visits and through Tele-Well visits … it’s your choice.

  • All children must be healthy to come to a “face to face” well visit – no fever, no cough, no vomiting/diarrhea
  • We encourage children who require vaccinations to come into the office to receive immunizations
  • Only one parent or care provider may attend the visit; no siblings unless approved by our office

In addition:

  • All medical advice and medication refills are provided through telemedicine visits​​
  • Portal messages will be answered generally within 24 hours, and typically sooner
  • Please call us for urgent matters
  • Please reserve after hours calls for true emergencies and urgent health matters

We remain vigilant in ensuring your safety. And, as always, we remain committed to following recommendations outlined by the CDC, AAP and Yale.

We will continue to make adjustments as the demands of fall and winter shift and keep you apprised and informed. All of us at Sound Beach Pediatrics are here to help support your family in the coming months as we face the challenges of the pandemic with you.

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Welcome back, Dr. Maggie!

Dr. Maggie and her husband Jim Omstrom share a recent photo of their adorable family! We are thrilled Dr. Maggie will be back in the office seeing patients in September! Take a peek at their four adorable children…. 4-month old twins Cece and Will in Maggie’s arms, and Elle (2y) and James (4y) sitting proudly with Jim!