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As you know, we’ve made many adjustments to our office procedures to accommodate you during COVID-19. Our priority is to ensure the safety of your family, which includes continuity of care – both for sick and well visits. Parents have told us in person and online how safe they felt bringing their kids to the office even during the pandemic. It’s thanks to our tremendous staff that we’ve been able to continue to serve you.

If your child is due for a routine visit, we assure you that it is safer coming to see us than to skip important visits.

As we encounter the evolving situation and daily onslaught of news on Coronavirus, we will post new information as it becomes available. Be sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages to remain up to date. 

Following are some recent changes in our office:

  1. Well visits are only in the mornings: We no longer offer sick walk-in during the morning and only schedule well visits at that time. Sick visits take place in the afternoons.
  2. We only allow one well caregiver per patient and no siblings.
  3. We’ve streamlined our checkin process so that sick patients do not have to use the waiting room.

For your convenience, be sure to check out our telehealth option if your child needs a sick visit. We offer them during business hours with our providers. All you need is a phone or computer to speak to us through our secure application. Most insurance companies now cover telehealth. Call our office at 847-676-5394 to schedule an appointment.

Our hours have returned to our regular office hours, although we had shortened them last spring.

Following are responses to some frequently asked questions we hear from our families

What’s the difference between rapid and PCR tests?

The PCR test is considered the gold standard test.  It takes longer to get results but is better at picking up cases of COVID where patients have mild or no symptoms.  

The rapid antigen test is very good for diagnosing COVID infections in patients with more symptoms, but may miss some cases where people have lower viral loads.

There is also a difference in the rate of “false negatives” – cases where the person has COVID-19 but the test does not result as positive. This situation is somewhat more common with the rapid PCR test, so it is often appropriate to do a PCR test for confirmation when the rapid test is negative.

What should I do if my child is sick?

Call us! If you think you or your child have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call us for medical advice.

Can my child get a COVID-19 test from you if they do not have symptoms?

Yes, we can administer a test if you are concerned your child has been exposed but does not have symptoms.

Steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you or your child is sick

Stay home except to get medical care

  • People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Call us before you get medical care. Of course, be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
  • If you do have to go out, avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

Separate the patient from other people in your home

As much as possible, set up a specific “sick room” away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.

What counts as exposure to the virus?

Currently, those at greatest risk of infection are those who have had prolonged, unprotected close contact with a patient with symptomatic, confirmed COVID-19 and those who live in or have recently traveled to high risk areas. Close contact is defined as spending at least 10-15 minutes within six feet of someone who has tested positive to the virus.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Although the vaccine has not been approved for use for children at the time this is posted, it was just released by the FDA for Emergency Authorized Use. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently sent a letter to federal officials urging children to be included in clinical studies.

Following is what we know about the vaccine at this point.

How is a vaccine developed and tested?

Approval of a vaccine for use in people involves multiple phases with different goals of assessing efficacy and safety in different populations. 

There are four phases of approval, and any vaccine must meet intense safety criteria before completing each phase. 

Once a vaccine is approved for use after phase 3, a vaccine has been tested in tens of thousands of people. If no significant harmful side effects are noted, it is then considered safe for use. 

Phase 4 involves continued monitoring and gathering of safety data. This type of clinical trial has been used for decades to approve medications and vaccines.

Are the vaccines safe?

The full safety data for the vaccines haven’t been made available yet, but no serious safety concerns have been reported in either clinical trial

The Food and Drug Administration’s detailed agency’s analysis of the Pfizer vaccine found “no specific safety concerns identified that would preclude issuance of an EUA.”

The FDA requires a minimum of 3,000 participants to assess safety. The vaccines currently in phase 3 trials have 30,000 to 50,000 participants. Safety is a top priority for the FDA and the medical community.

At least at first, COVID-19 vaccines might be used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA.

Normally manufacturers wait until clinical trials are over to begin mass manufacturing a vaccine, decreasing the risk of financial loss. Pfizer and Moderna moved ahead with mass production during clinical trials, but this does not increase safety risks

Intensive safety monitoring will continue after the vaccines begin to be used. Possible side-effects profile of the Pfizer vaccine is similar to a flu vaccine, including pain at the injection site, fatigue, chills and fever. Possible side effects noted in Moderna’s news release include pain at the injection site, muscle aches and headaches.

There is NO WAY to get COVID-19 from the vaccine, according to the CDC. The vaccines are made up of a small fragment of the RNA that encodes for a small portion of protein, which can’t replicate and cause COVID-19. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. 

Are the vaccines effective?

The FDA requires 50 percent efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are showing 94-95 percent efficacy in preventing COVID-19 disease during this trial phase.

Other companies are working on a vaccine, and we expect that others will be approved by

the FDA. The FDA requires eight weeks of safety data on the COVID-19 vaccine.

How will vaccine distribution be prioritized?

Vaccine distribution will depend on your age, job and health, according to Dean Blumberg of UC Davis Health. Healthcare workers and skilled nursing facility residents will be among the first to be prioritized. 

How do the vaccines work?

There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. This is why the vaccine can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work from the CDC.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

When are we expected to reach herd immunity in the U.S.?

It takes 60-70 percent of the population to be immune, either through vaccination or having antibodies from previous illness (that is if people are immune after being infected–which we’re not sure). At this point only 10 percent of the population has been infected. The vaccine will roll out in limited quantities beginning later in December. We can anticipate achieving 60-70 percent immunity by the middle to end of 2021.

Expect to continue wearing masks and social distancing for the distant future until we achieve herd immunity in our communities. 

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

There are three main vaccines expected to be released in the U.S. soon. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are MRNA–messenger RNA vaccines. This means a fragment of MRNA encodes for a portion of the spike protein of coronavirus. When that’s injected into us, our own cells will make that protein. The mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. 

The other vaccine, AstraZenica with the University of Oxford, instructs human cells to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein — the immune system’s main target in coronaviruses. 

How many doses will I need?

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses. Pfizer’s booster shot will be given three weeks after the first one. Moderna’s is spaced four weeks later.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine also requires two doses, but the trial found that it was far more effective when the first dose was half the typical dose, with the second given a month later. It remains to be seen which dose the company will submit to regulators for clearance.

Should I still get vaccinated if I already had the coronavirus?

People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated.

This means people may be advised to get vaccinated even if they were sick with COVID-19 before.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Natural immunity varies from person to person, and some early evidence suggests it may not last very long.

We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.

Until the CDC committee evaluates the full data on any authorized vaccine, the agency won’t make recommendations about whether people who already were infected should receive it.

Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccine? 

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone for free, regardless of coverage status. They won’t pay coinsurance, deductibles or copayments. The vaccine will be federally purchased – funding through the CARES Act will pay for the vaccine. 

However, vaccine providers will be able to charge administration fees for giving or administering the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

Please refer to the resources below for more information on COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

LurieChildrens.org

Of course, you can always contact us at the office with any questions or concerns at 847-676-5394

The cash price for a COVID-19 diagnostic test is $80. We provide this information to our patients, health insurers, and the general public, pursuant to Section 3202 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

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