COVID UPDATES 5/25/22

The CDC is recommending children 5-11 have a booster of the pfizer vaccine 5 mos after their initial series.

Studies on vaccines for those 6 mos to 5 years are still being reviewed. Guidance updates are likely to come out in August.

COVID UPDATES AS OF 4/04/22

CDC is currently recommending a 2nd booster for
WHO: 50 or more years old
OR immunocompromised
WHEN: at least 4 mos after 1st booster
WHICH: either Moderna or Pfizer

TREATMENT remains challenging in part due to limited access but also as treatment has been only been shown to be helpful in limiting disease severity for specific high risk people. If you are in a high risk group- pregnant, immunosuppressed, over 50 yo, unvaccinated or have another condition which puts you at high risk of complications- it's important to make a diagnosis early as treatment is only effective if given in the first 5 days of illness.

Upcoming this month there may be guidelines for 6 mo to 5 yo. Both Moderna and Pfizer have dosing schedules being studied and anticipated to be reviewed by FDA/CDC this month.

COVID UPDATES 3/9/22

The most exciting news is that guidelines for masking are changing in public places and schools. Remember, these guidelines are for healthy people in low risk settings. Indoor masking is no longer required routine in counties with MEDIUM level of COVID risk.

To find your counties risk:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html

WE WILL CONTINUE TO MASK IN MEDICAL SETTINGS AS THEY ARE BY DEFINITION HIGH RISK. If you have serious health conditions consider masking in public even when community levels are medium. Ask your provider what they recommend in your specific situation.

If you are sick with ANY potential covid symptoms you need to be tested. AND you should avoid being in public until you know whatever is making you sick is not covid. Call us to arrange for testing with us. Symptoms of covid can include: upper respiratory symptoms- cold symptoms, head congestion, runny nose, sore throat, sinus symptoms, headaches which aren't typical for you OR fever OR diarrhea OR loss of taste or smell. If you have any question you might be sick - consider testing. This is the way to keep community spread controlled.

6 mo to 5 yo vaccine is still under investigation with more data anticipated in April. Thus far the vaccine is safe but not as effective with their planned schedule hence adjustments are being made.

A fourth vaccine is recommended for people at extreme risk due to immunosuppressive states. Call your provider if you have questions as to your specific situation.

TREATMENT continues to be challenging. There is very limited access to monoclonal antibody treatment which must be given IV. There are some oral treatments which have been approved on emergency basis- but these are not widely available. These treatments are being used only in people with very high risk of serious complications and hospitalizations to reduce there chance of needing to be hospitalized. Treatment must be done within 7 days of diagnosis to be helpful. This means if you think you might be sick it's important to be tested early. Treatment is reserved for people who have moderate symptoms AND are at high risk of serious disease but if you qualify we can order this.

COVID UPDATES 2/4/22

The FDA has formally upgraded the approval for the Moderna vaccine from emergency authorization to full approval.

COVID UPDATES 1/10/22

VACCINATIONS are still the best way to protect yourself and those around you from severe covid symptoms.

Booster doses are recommended now at 5 mos for all those who are 12 and above. The pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for 12-17 year olds. The moderna or pfizer are considered equivalent for adults.

The J and J vaccine has been determined less effective than the mRNA vaccines available. We recommend doing mRNA booster doses to better cover those with prior J and J vaccination.

FFHC continues to have moderna booster doses and pfizer vaccine for 5-11 yo olds. Call for appointments to book vaccines.

Augusta Armory WALK IN VACCINE CLINIC

(All vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J) will be offered and first, second, booster, and pediatric doses will all be available.) Times and dates for this clinic will vary. For questions about this site, call 888-445-4111.

Updated uniform guidelines for all State of ME schools can be found at maine.gov/doe.

New guidelines for isolation and quarantine were announced for the first week January 2022.
more details : https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1227-isolation-quarantine-guidance.html

People WITHOUT SYMPTOMS who are positive only need to isolate at home for 5 days.
People who are FULLY VACCINATED* and exposed do not need to quarantine at home though MASK when out.
People who are NOT fully vaccinated and exposed should quarantine for 5 days, test at 5 days and if negative may go out with MASK.

*FULLY VACCINATED means: had 3 doses of mRNA (pfizer or moderna)
OR 2 doses of mRNA vaccine within the last 5 mos

TESTING can be done for many reasons. If you have ANY symptoms of upper respiratory infection including cough, nasal congestion, sinus pressure consider covid testing with rapid home antigen test or more formal testing with PCR. If you're not sure if or when you should be testing call us.

FFHC continues to offer scheduled car swabs for covid screening for our patients who are exposed to covid or have acute respiratory symptoms. We are also seeing patients with moderate acute illness. Call to tell us how you're feeling and we'll help you arrange appropriate testing or visits. We do PCR testing with results returning in 24-72 hrs.

Augusta Armory SCHEDULED Drive-Through Testing

As of 1/10/22, this location will schedule drive through testing form 9AM -3 PM. Testing is PCR testing and results expected in 24-48 hrs. To register use shieldt3portal.pointnclick.com. This prompts you to create and account through which you will receive your results. For questions about this site, call 888-445-4111.

Other testing resources :https://www.maine.gov/covid19/testing

Asymptomatic testing (travel testing)
MaineGeneral offers scheduled asymptomatic testing (testing for those who do not have COVID symptoms). There is limited capacity to test each day.

Testing by APPT only. Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 207-621-7590.

The entrance is in the back of the building at the MaineGeneral Workplace Health location at 21 Enterprise Drive, Augusta. This facility is the second building you will come to on Enterprise Drive.

COVID UPDATES 12/31/21

Updated uniform guidelines for all State of ME schools can be found at maine.gov/doe

New guidelines for isolation and quarantine were announced this week.
more details : https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1227-isolation-quarantine-guidance.html

People WITHOUT SYMPTOMS who are positive only need to isolate at home for 5 days.
People who are FULLY VACCINATED* and exposed do not need to quarantine at home though MASK when out.
People who are NOT fully vaccinated and exposed should quarantine for 5 days, test at 5 days and if negative may go out with MASK.
*FULLY VACCINATED means: had 3 doses of mRNA (pfizer or moderna)
OR 2 doses of mRNA vaccine within the last 6 mos OR being < 16 years old and having had pfizer doses.

Booster doses are currently recommended for 16 and 17 year olds based on the rate of decline in titers in this age group. Boosters for younger children are NOT yet recommended.
J and J vaccine has been determined less effective than the mRNA vaccines available. We recommend doing mRNA booster doses to better cover those with prior J and J vaccination.

FFHC continues to have moderna booster doses and pfizer vaccine for 5-11 yo olds. Call for appointments to book vaccines.

Augusta Armory WALK IN VACCINE CLINIC

(All vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J) will be offered and first, second, booster, and pediatric doses will all be available.)

Hours for the week of 1/2/2022:

Tuesday - 9am - 4pm
Thursday - Noon - 7pm
Saturday - 9am - 4pm

Times and dates for this clinic will vary - check back for regular updates. For questions about this site, call 207-816-1259.

As of 11/19/21 the CDC has simplified covid vaccine booster guidelines. Everyone over 18 years old qualifies for a booster dose- a3rd dose of Moderna/Pfizer or 2nd of J&J. These are strongly recommended for anyone over 50 years old, those at high risk of covid complications and those who are exposed extensively in the workplace.

Cases of covid in vaccinated people are a real issue- in the United States at this time 15% of cases occur in people who are at least partially vaccinate. These patients are less likely to become seriously ill, hospitalized or die but can still have serious disease. Please be aware masking and vaccination together are what will keep you and your family safe. MASK indoors especially if you are around anyone who is not vaccinated. Follow social distancing guidelines which means socialize outside and in small groups as much as possible. If you are sick, please call so we can set you up with testing. We are still seeing our regularly booked patients. Please let us know if you are sick as soon as you arrive or call ahead if you have any questions about what care is best for you.

WHY KIDS?

Covid is more likely to make those who are fragile very ill. This in particular would include infants and children younger than 5 who will likely not be able to be vaccinated until 2022. Vaccinating their older siblings and social contacts is how we can protect them. While covid is more likely to cause serious illness and death in those who are chronically ill or immunosuppressed. This certainly DOES include some children, but remember covid also can affect otherwise healthy children in serious ways. More than 1000 US children have been hospitalized because of covid and more than 600 US children have died from Covid 19. This level of disease severity is preventable with a vaccine for kids >12. More than 5000 US children have suffered from Severe Multisystem Inflammatory Condition ( SMI-C) which can leave them with permanent disability. If you have specific concerns about vaccine safety please arrange for a conversation with your child's provider.


KIDS UPDATES

12-17 yo PFIZER is the only vaccine approved at this time. Not available at our office due to storage issues, but strongly supported by our providers.
Call Walgreens, CVS, Walmart to check local availability.
> 6 million US teens in this group are full vaccinated which is around 44% of US kids 12-17

5-11 yo PFIZER approved by FDA/CDC recommends two dose series

Dosing is 1/3 adult dose as limited side effects (same type as adults)
91% effective against symptomatic disease. (Only 9% of these kids had covid which cause them to feel sick.)
NONE of these 2000 children had serious illness or SMI-C

WHAT IS AVAILABLE AT FFHC?

WE HAVE MODERNA ADULT and BOOSTER doses.
If you want to start your series, need a 2nd dose or booster dose please call to book Appt for these.
We can add to your current appt time if we know ahead of time and open vial that day.

We HAVE PFIZER 5-11 yo dosing.
CALL TO BOOK YOUR CHILDREN FOR APPTS.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU HAD:

J&J vaccine: BOOSTER DOSE
WHEN: 2 mos after initial
WHO: ALL ADULTS
WHAT: J & J OR PFIZER OR MODERNA (This is new- any booster can be used in particular in this situation)

Pfizer vaccine: 3rd dose for immunosuppressed pts ASAP
BOOSTER DOSE
WHEN: 6 mos after 2nd dose
RECOMMENDED:> 50 yo OR high risk due to medical condition or workplace exposure

OPTIONAL: ALL ADULTS

WHAT: PFIZER preferred, but may use MODERNA booster

Moderna vaccine: 3rd dose for immunosuppressed pts ASAP
BOOSTER DOSE (1/2 strength initial)
WHEN: 6 mos after 2nd dose
RECOMMENDED: >50 yo OR high risk due to medical condition or workplace exposure

OPTIONAL: ALL ADULTS
WHAT: MODERNA preferred, but may use PFIZER booster

WHY BOOSTERS? The first covid vaccines have shown very high rates of protection against the virus covid 19. Over time that protection fades and in particular as we are seeing stronger strains of this virus the higher we can boost immunity the fewer break through cases will occur. This means right after your vaccine you were VERY unlikely to get sick with this virus, because you have high levels of protective antibodies that will kick the illness out of your body before you get sick. As time passes, your body does other things and "forgets" about protecting you from this specific virus. A booster reminds your body what covid looks like. This reminder gives you a much better chance to kick out any virus you breath in and means if you do gets enough virus to become sick you can clear it from your body faster without getting as sick.