Pediatric COVID-19 Updates

COVID Update - Testing, New Variants, Vaccine Update And When Will The Masks End?!

Testing

Please let us take care of your family’s COVID testing! Depending on your needs, we offer both in-office rapid testing and send-out PCR testing. Our current turnaround time for the send-out PCR test is 24 hours or less. We are familiar with our local school districts and their return to school/play policies and are happy to write your school notes. We will bill your health insurance for your visit and test so no need to be paying high cash prices for these tests.

Vaccine Update

All of our providers and staff have received our two doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine! Below are some brief thoughts on vaccine safety and efficacy.

  • The two available vaccines at this point are mRNA vaccines - mRNA is basically an instruction given to a cell to make a protein. Your own cells then make that protein and stimulate a natural immune response (creating antibodies). Many vaccines inject a protein which starts that same process, mRNA technology is basically just injecting the recipe to create the protein yourself.
  • mRNA technology has been researched since 1990 so it is really not new!
  • mRNA CANNOT change your DNA
  • While the vaccine was developed at warp speed (many vaccines take decades from idea to administration), the most important part of any vaccine development is the Phase 3 Trial. This is when tens of thousands of people receive placebo vs vaccine to see if it works and if it has side effects. This phase was NOT shortened with the COVID 19 vaccine.
  • Infertility is a MYTH.
  • Do we believe that the benefits outweigh the risks at this point? Yes. There is no risk-free choice, but the cost of not vaccinating comes with 3000 deaths in the US each day at this point. Most vaccine side effects occur within 6 weeks of administration. We are far past that with thousands of American’s and we are not seeing any concerning side effects. ALL recipients can report adverse events following their vaccine through VAERS and all of these are investigated to see if they are occurring at higher rates than the general population.

Variants

New COVID variants are emerging across the world and are making their way into the United States. Genetic mutations in these variants cause some potential consequences.

  • The virus becomes more contagious (spreads more quickly)
  • The virus causes more mild or more severe disease
  • The virus becomes less susceptible to therapeutic treatments
  • The virus develops the ability to evade natural or vaccine-induced immunity - both natural infection and vaccination produce a “polyclonal” response which means several parts of the spike protein are targeted. The virus would likely need to accumulate multiple mutations in the spike protein to evade immunity entirely, which at this point is thought to be unlikely.
  • Research is ongoing to look at each of these questions as new variants arise.

Masks/Distancing

We know that the vaccine reduces severe disease in the person who received the vaccine. We do not know if it eliminates the spread of mild or asymptomatic infection in the community. We also have to vaccinate the majority of the population to achieve herd immunity - we certainly aren’t there yet. And we have these smart new strains to learn more about. I would guess that there is not an end to masks/social distancing anytime soon. I know we are all becoming weary. I am hoping spring brings some beautiful Austin weather so we can all get out and enjoy it!

Best,
Carly Thompson, MD

Pediatric Meet and Greet Update During Coronavirus Pandemic

If you would like to meet Dr. Thompson and her team prior to your upcoming delivery, we would be happy to schedule a meet and greet in person or via virtual visit! Meet and greets are held every 3rd Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm. Please call our office to indicate that you are interested so we can coordinate a visit for your family with our team.

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