To be clear, the CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot this year. The most vulnerable are seniors over age 65 and young children with respiratory issues like asthma and illness which lowers immunity. There is more to understand about the 2022-2023 flu season: preparing your family.
Timing Of The Flu Season
The flu season starts in October, peaks in December through February and can last through May. Getting the flu shot for yourself and your family is best completed by the end of October. It takes two weeks for the immunity to kick in, so don’t wait until the flu is rampant in your area. Keep in mind, you can still get a shot late in the season.
This year, the flu could be severe. It has been reduced the last few years due to the COVID restrictions.
Flu Is A Serious Disease
Every year there are millions of cases, several hundred thousand hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths. In a normal flu season 40,000 deaths can occur. Many of those deaths are children.
Both Flu And COVID Will Still Be Around
Some people could have the flu and COVID at the same time this season, overwhelming our healthcare system. Get protected from both — it is possible to get both vaccines at the same time.
You need a specific vaccine to protect you from each virus. The flu shot won’t protect you from COVID and vice versa.
If you have a well care visit coming up, ask for both vaccines to be administered. Of course you can visit almost any pharmacy or other clinic to receive the shot.
Double Dose For First Time Flu Shots
If your child is receiving their first flu vaccine, they need to get two shots several weeks apart to boost their immunity. Talk to your doctor about the specifics.
Know The Symptoms
The flu bug hits you quite suddenly. That is one of its telltale signs, whereas a cold usually comes on gradually.
Look for the following symptoms:
Sore throat and cough
Vomiting and diarrhea
With COVID, strep and other respiratory illnesses coming at us during 2022-2023, here is a valuable chart to help you decipher the symptoms. Our pediatricians may also want to conduct tests.
Keeping your family safe from illness is a parent’s responsibility. Protection is always easier than the treatment.
Contact our office at (617) 426-9200 to make an appointment for a flu shot or if you have questions about the flu season and preparing your family.
When it comes to fighting COVID-19, we know there are many sources of information. We are grateful you trust Porter Pediatrics to give you the answers you need and the care your family deserves.
You can find the latest information about a vaccine for children under five here.
Our Approach to COVID-19 Vaccine
When you come to Porter Pediatrics, we want you to feel comfortable throughout the vaccine process. Here are a few things to get you started:
Sign-up online for your child’s COVID-19 Vaccine. We currently provide the COVID-19 for children under 5.
On the day of your appointment, you will check in to our front desk as you do for a normal appointment.
We will verify your information and talk to you about the type of vaccine you would like administered to your child.
We may ask for your ID or health insurance card, although there are no out-of-pocket charges for the COVID-19 vaccine.
We may ask you to view the CDC’s fact sheet and to sign a waiver or consent form.
After check-in, you and your child may wait in the lobby. We kindly ask for your patience as you allow us to get your vaccine ready.
COVID-19 Vaccine for Children
We know there are many vaccines and immunizations recommended for babies and children under age 5.
According to the CDC, clinical trials are underway to ensure the vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19 illness in younger children and vaccines are now available for children.
Young people are vulnerable to the virus, just like everyone else. Getting them vaccinated is the best way to protect them, prevent the spread of COVID-19, and protect others.
On June 18, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children and means that all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination.
The COVID-19 vaccine for babies and children are not the same as those administered to older teenagers and adults. They are sent to us, specifically marked and indicated for children. Children are not just little adults. Special concern has been taken for their approved vaccines.
What to Expect
Before your appointment, please give us a call if you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5. We can help inform you of the risks and the benefits of vaccination.
Before your child gets the COVID-19 vaccine, you will fill out CDC’s pre-vaccination screening form for your child. This is to make sure they are a good candidate for the vaccine.
If you answer yes to any question, you may need to talk to your child’s provider to determine if or when would be a better time for your child to receive the vaccine. For example, if your child is feeling moderately sick or severely ill, it is recommended to wait until they feel better before they receive the vaccine.
The questionnaire will help us determine if there is any reason your child should not get the COVID-19 vaccine today. If you answer “yes” to any question, it does not necessarily mean your child should not be vaccinated. It just means additional questions may be asked. If a question is not clear, please ask your healthcare provider to explain it.
It does not take long to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The process happens like many of the regular immunizations and vaccines common for children. The vaccine can also be done at a well-visit or other routine check-up.
After the vaccine, you will likely schedule another appointment for the next dose. Your child should be able to return to normal activities immediately after leaving the office.
Types of Covid-19 Vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for different age groups and are given usually in the arm.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Available for children 6 months of age and older 6 months through 4 years of age: 3 dose primary series Children over 5 years of age: 2 dose primary series
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
Available for children 6 months of age and older Children 6 months of age and older: 2 doses, one month apart For vaccines that require multiple doses, your provider will ask you which type you received. We may also check your medical record, immunization information systems, and vaccination records.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
The COVID-19 vaccine works similarly to other vaccines. Germs such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, invade and multiply inside the body. The vaccine helps stop this by teaching the immune system to recognize and make antibodies that fight the virus.
Is the vaccine safe for children?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children who are 6 months and older get vaccinated to help protect against COVID-19. According to the CDC, the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Before recommending COVID-19 vaccination for children, scientists conducted clinical trials. The FDA gave the COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization to use in children as young as 6 months of age and full approval to use in people ages 16 years and older.
Who recommends the vaccine for children?
On June 18, 2022 CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children and means that all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination.
CDC expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States in this age group and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible.
Will my child still get COVID-19 if he or she is fully vaccinated?
After your child is fully vaccinated, there is less of a chance he/she will get COVID-19. If your child does get infected with the virus, including the widely circulating Delta variant, the child likely will not be as sick. Your child is also much less likely to be hospitalized if you get the virus.
The vaccine is approved for emergencies. What is Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority allows FDA to help strengthen the nation’s public health protections when there is a public health crisis. The FDA requires you to have special information so you can make an informed decision about vaccination.
My child has been allergic to a vaccine in the past. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for my child?
According to the CDC, if your child has a history of allergy in past vaccines, you should talk to your provider to see if your child should move forward with the COVID-19 vaccine. In the screening form from the CDC on page four, there are ingredients listed and special considerations if your child might be at risk.
How does an mRNA vaccine help children?
The vaccine currently approved for those under 18 is considered an mRNA vaccine. According to healthychildren.org, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines contain messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA is made up of nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of all our cells. The mRNA carries instructions inside a lipid (fat) coating that tells cells to produce harmless pieces of “spike” protein. These look like spikes on the actual COVID virus.
When the cells make these pieces of spike protein, the immune system recognizes that they should not be there. Your child’s body then makes antibodies that get rid of the spike pieces. These antibodies remember how to protect your child from the virus in the future. A second dose three weeks after the first dose provides the instructions again, so the immune system can remember and practice how to get rid of the spike pieces.
Do mRNA vaccines change your child’s DNA?
No, the COVID-19 vaccines made with messenger RNA do not interact with your child’s DNA at all. DNA is your genetic material and it is stored in the nucleus of a cell. The mRNA in the vaccines never gets into the nucleus. And once your immune cells have used the instructions, they break down the mRNA and it exits the body.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain live parts of the Virus?
No, mRNA vaccines do not contain any live or dead parts of the virus.
How were the vaccines developed? Were they rushed?
Vaccines were first tested in cells to determine if they are safe for people. The research is shared with the FDA, and then if approved, the researchers start clinical trials. There are several stages of clinical trials, building from hundreds to thousands of people. They undergo rigorous testing processes and close communication with participants throughout clinical trials. There are specific clinical trials for children underway.
More information about research protocols can be found on the CDC website.
Schedule Your Child’s COVID-19 Vaccine
We thank you for trusting us to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to your child. We know you have many options, and we are grateful you trust us with your child’s healthcare.
We would love to help answer your questions and help protect you against COVID-19. Please call 617-426-9200 or schedule your appointment online.
Attention: The CDC just recalled Similac, Alimentum, and Elecare powdered formulas with the following lot numbers.
Product code: First two digits are 22 through 37, and the code on the container contains “K8,” “SH,” or “Z2” with an expiration date of 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.
If you have any of these formulas, please discard them and switch to powdered Enfamil or liquid Similac formula. Call our office at 617-426-9200 if your infant is experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, feeding difficulty, or lethargy.
We have thought over very carefully whether our practice is going to give the COVID-19 vaccine. We have decided with the monitoring that needs to take place, potential reactions, and our current understaffing that it is not going to be delivered at the clinic.
However, Tufts Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, and many local Walgreens/CVS have openings for children 5-11yo to receive the vaccine. We are following the CDC guidelines as outlined on their webpage.
Flu vaccinations are readily available in the clinic, please call the office to book an appointment.
Due to an influx of requests, medical record requests will be charged $30 for mailing and $15 for pick up at the clinic. Please allow 5-7 business days for requests to be completed.
All copays will be collected at the time of the appointment.
Patients who fail to come to their appointments without a 24hr notice of cancellation will be charged $20.
Please allow 3-5 business days for prescription refill requests.
Friendly Reminder: At the time of the patient’s physical examination, a copy of the immunization record will be given to you. This copy can be shared with schools/camps/etc. A $25 fee will be charged for each additional copy.
Porter Pediatrics is open and operating under normal business hours! Dr. Porter’s Clinical staff are available for calls during business hours, Monday to Thursday 8 am to 5 pm. Please call us during this time to speak with a member of our team at 617-426-9200 option 4.
Please call our AFTER HOURS cell phone at 617-910-8274 for URGENT clinical concerns, that cannot wait. These calls are answered by a covering practice. If possible, speaking to a member of our team during business hours is preferable. After-hours calls will be answered Monday to Thursday from 5 pm to 8 am, Friday to Sunday all day.
For ALL EMERGENT concerns, please call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.