FDA Authorizes Covid-19 Vaccines for Younger Children

COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids Under 5: What You Should Know

When it comes to fighting COVID-19, we know there are many sources of information. We are grateful you trust Anderson Hills 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 Anderson Hills Pediatrics, we want you to feel comfortable throughout the vaccine process. Here are a few things to get you started:

  • Schedule through our Patient Portal or call our office at (513) 232-8100 for your child’s COVID-19 Vaccine. We currently provide the COVID-19 for patients 6 months of age and older at both our Anderson Township and Amelia locations.
  • Prior to your appointment, you will check in on Phreesia as you do for a normal appointment. This is important to ensure we have all of the necessary paperwork completed and that vaccination is appropriate for 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 review the CDC’s fact sheet and to sign a waiver or consent form.
  • Vaccinations may be completed from the comfort of your vehicle or within our facilities depending upon weather conditions.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Under 5 

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 is 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 the 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 timing is right 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 is like many of the regular immunizations and vaccines common for children. The vaccine can also be given at a well-visit or other routine check-up.

After the vaccine, you will likely schedule another appointment for the next doses, if appropriate. 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 in the arm as a two-dose or three-dose series. At Anderson Hills Pediatrics, we are offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

Patients 6 months of age through 4 years: Two doses, 21 days apart; Third dose 8 weeks after the second dose

Patients 5 years of age and older:  Two doses, 21 days apart

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 of age 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 Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization to use in children ages 6 months-15 years old 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.

The 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, 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 the 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.

For more information about EUA, please visit the FDA website.

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 Vaccine Appointment
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 (513) 232-8100 or visit your child’s patient portal to schedule your appointment today!

Camping Safety Tips

National Camping Month & National Great Outdoors Month is here!

With summer finally here, it is a great time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors! If you are heading out for a short hike or camping for a few days, below are some safety tips to help you and your family.

  • Location: Choose a site that is safe for your family. If you are going to an unfamiliar place, research the weather, terrain, and creatures native to the area. Ensure you pack the proper gear and clothing, including sunscreen, water, rain gear, repellant, equipment, etc.
  • First Aid: Bring along a First Aid Kit! Healthychildren.org outlines a helpful list of what you might need as you prepare for your adventure.
  • Sun Protection: Plan sun protection by packing and wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun repellant clothing. Do your best to avoid the high solar radiation from 10:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. Put sunscreen on 15-30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours. Use a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” on the label with an SPF of at least 15.
  • Insect Safety: Dress children in clothes that prevent insect bites. This can include long-sleeve shirts, pants, and socks to prevent bites. Repellants containing DEET are vital to insect-related disease prevention. The current AAP and CDC recommendation for children older than two months is to “use 10% to 30% DEET. DEET should not be used on children younger than two months of age.” Also, check your child’s hair and skin for ticks at the end of the day.
  • Fire Safety: If building a campfire, keep flammable items away, never leave a fire unattended, have a water bucket near the fire, and not leave children unsupervised.
  • Safety Rules: Set expectations for your children ahead of time on safety precautions they should take. Set boundaries regarding how far they are allowed to wander away from you and what hazardous conditions they should be aware of or avoid (fast-moving water, cliffs, etc.).
  • Have fun! Let your kids get involved with the process, from packing and planning to setting up a tent, cooking, etc. After all, camping and being outdoors are great ways to improve health, detox from the digital world, strengthen family relationships, explore nature, and develop life skills!

Resources for Safe Camping, Hiking, Activities, and More: 

National Park Service: Staying Safe

Camping with Kids

Summer Safety Tips: Staying Safe Outdoors

Safe RV Travel with Children

Tips for Camping with Kids

Hiking with Infants, Toddlers and Kids

Teens and Sun: Keeping Them Safe Without Ruining Their Fun

How to Build an Essential Summer First Aid Kit

Get the Kids Outside

P.S. Don’t forget your s’mores!

National Safety Month – Safety Tips

June is National Safety Month and aims to offer safety tips for everyday life, including child safety. Below are a few essential areas of focus to keep your child safe.

Childproofing for Poisons: It is important to keep cleaning products, personal and hygiene products, medicines, nicotine products, alcohol, certain house plants, and other potentially poisonous objects out of reach from children. If you are concerned your child may have a case of poisoning, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222. If you find that your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having convulsions or seizures, contact 911.

Lithium Batteries: Coin batteries are in many common household devices and, if swallowed, can cause serious harm to children. Keeping these batteries secure, tightening the screws on battery covers, and taping the compartments are important ways to keep your child from ingesting the batteries.

Furniture Safety: The tipping of furniture causes more injuries than many realize. To prevent this:

  1. Use anti-tip devices or anchors to secure furniture.
  2. Visit www.anchorit.govto learn more about anchoring furniture and TVs.
  3. Avoid putting items such as toys or electronics in areas that tempt children to climb.

Water Safety: To ensure safe swimming this summer, parents should designate a water watcher to oversee children while swimming. Also, we encourage weak swimmers to take swim lessons and wear life jackets. Pools should have proper barriers and drain covers in place. For more information on this topic, visit our Water Safety Month blog.

Safe Sleep for Babies: When babies sleep with pillows, blankets, on soft surfaces, and on their tummies, they are at a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies should sleep on their backs, in a clutter-free area, on a firm, flat mattress, and in their own space (not with caregivers in bed).

First Aid Guide: Healthy Children has put together a great guide outlining how to care for stings, bites, allergies, fever, skin wounds, eye injuries, fractures and sprains, burns and scalds, nose bleeds, head injuries, and more! Check out this resource at healthychildren.org.

Fire Safety: It is vital to have smoke alarms installed in all sleeping areas of your home. Establish escape routes and conduct fire drills, so your children know how to escape safely and where to meet in the event of a fire. Make sure your children know they should escape immediately and not try to dress or put out the fire. Most fire-related deaths occur due to suffocation from the fumes and smoke, not the fire itself.

Disaster Planning: Disasters such as floods, fires, tornadoes, etc., can happen in this area. Preparing in advance for natural disasters can help us feel less frightened and overwhelmed if they occur. Suppose you need to evacuate your home immediately. In that case, it is vital to have personal identification, special items for babies or young children, a 3-day supply of water, toiletries, a change of clothing and sturdy shoes, and canned foods for family members.

Thank you for trusting us with your child’s care.

For much more details and resources, visit: 

 

COVID Vaccine Update for Patients 6 Months thru 4 Years

On June 14th, the FDA will meet to discuss Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for children ages six months up through 4 years of age. If the FDA determines that the vaccine is safe and appropriate for use in this age group, the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to meet for final approval on June 22-23.   We cannot provide vaccines to our patients until the FDA and CDC have approved its use. Therefore, our first vaccination clinic is planned for June 24, 2022.

At this time, you can contact our office to schedule or book an appointment on the patient portal

for vaccine clinic dates on or after June 24th. We will only be offering the Pfizer vaccine.

Thank you for trusting us with your child’s care!

Important Note: We will cancel any prescheduled appointments if the FDA and CDC do not approve the EUA.

 

Formula Shortage Update

75% of babies are fed formula by six months of age, and we know many of you are unfortunately being impacted by the formula shortage that is currently occurring. Sadly, the out of stock rate is over 40% for the 20 major retailers.

In February, Abbott voluntarily recalled products such as Similac, Alimentum, EleCare, and Similar PM 60/40) and shut down one of their manufacturing plants due to reports of four infants falling ill from Cronobacter sakazakii infection, two of which later died due to formula consumed from said plant. Abbott is hoping to reopen their facilities in a few weeks after they gain approval to do so. However, products from this facility will probably not be available on shelves for another 8 weeks.

If you have an urgent need for formula, please contact our office! Our supplies of Similac are very low at this time, but we do have Enfamil available. We will continue to provide your infant with formula while our supplies last.

Again, we hope these tips will also help your family during this difficult time:

  • While it might not be ideal, you may need to switch your infant’s formula during this time to a generic or alternative brand. If you can keep the formula within the same type (ex. cow’s milk-base or iron-fortified infant formulas). Your baby may experience changes in stool patterns, gas, or spitting up over a couple of days as they become adjusted. However, being fed is best!
  • Smaller stores and drug stores may have formula supplies when it is sold out at major retail chains.
  • Some major retail chains sell formula on-line. Refresh their pages often to see what is in-stock and available for purchase. Note that some major retailers are putting a limit on the amount you can buy.

As a reminder, we DO NOT recommend the following as alternatives to formula feeding:

  • NEVER add more than the recommended amount of water to powdered or concentrated formula and never add any water to liquid ready-to-feed formula. This can dilute the nutrients which can cause imbalances and may lead to serious health problems.
  • It is not recommended to make homemade formula. The balance of nutrients may be difficult for your baby to digest, may cause kidney or liver damage, and otherwise may not support healthy growth or development.
  • It is also not recommended that you purchase formula from other countries that have not been reviewed / recommended by the FDA.
  • You should also not feed an infant under 1 year of age cow milk or other milk substitutes.

If you have any additional questions regarding infant formula, please do not hesitate to contact our team at (513) 232-8100.

Thank you for trusting us with your care.

Resources:

Considerations When Changing Formulas

Why Do Infants Need Baby Formula Instead of Cow’s Milk?

Choosing an Infant Formula

Is Homemade Baby Formula Safe?

Fact Sheet: Helping Families Find Formula During the Infant Formula Shortage

May is National Water Safety Month!

It is heating up outdoors and we cannot wait to start summer water-related activities. Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of death for children. In fact, “more children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects and for children ages 1–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes,” CDC. We want you and your children to have a fun, safe summer ahead.

These small steps can save lives while swimming or being near water this summer:

  • Water Watcher: Designate a Water Watcher – an adult, whose only job is to watch children when they are in the pool or swimming. This is one of the most important steps you can do to keep your children safe in and around water.
  • Swim Lessons: Has your child learned to swim? Children that have not learned to swim face much higher risks of drowning. Local businesses or parks and rec departments are great places to go for information on swim lessons.
  • Life Jackets: Life jackets are important for all ages and regardless of swimming ability in natural bodies of water or while taking part in activities such as boating. They also should be used by weaker swimmers around natural water bodies and in swimming pools. Not all life jackets are created equal! Put your child in a properly fitted US Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Barriers: “Fences are the most effective, proven way to prevent drowning of young children,” HealthyChildren.org. Pool fencing should be at least 4 feet high and completely surround swimming pools. Your child should not be able to squeeze through the slats. The gate should be a self-latching gat that opens outward from the pool area. It is also recommended to install a door alarm on a pool gate and to have pool or spa covers that properly and fully cover the area.
  • Drain Covers: Ensure all pools and spas have compliant drain covers. Without the proper covers, the powerful suction from a pool or spa drain can be enough to even trap and adult.
  • CPR: Performing CPR can help save the life of a drowning victim. There are several community centers and business that offer CPR in our area.

 

Additional Prevention Resources:

Pool Dangers and Drowning Prevention―When It’s Not Swimming Time

Life Jackets & Life Preservers for Children

Water Safety USA: Life Jackets Save Lives

CDC: Drowning Prevention

American Red Cross: Water Safety Month: How to Be Safe In and Around the Water

American Red Cross: Water Safety

Pool Safely Song by Laurie Berkner

Pool Safely: Safety Tips

Infant Formula Shortages

Did you know that more than 70% of infants receive formula by 6 months of age? Are you searching for formula and unable to find it? Since the pandemic began, infant formula has been plagued by shortages. The recent recall of contaminated formula products certainly did not help and the shortages people are experiencing have heightened.

If you have an urgent need for formula, we hope the below tips will be helpful for you and your infant:

  • Smaller stores and drug stores may have formula supplies when it is sold out at major retail chains.
  • Some major retail chains sell formula on-line. Refresh their pages often to see what is in-stock and available for purchase. Note that some major retailers are putting a limit on the amount you can buy.
  • Generic formulas may be an option.
  • You may also contact our office if you are in need of formula. While supplies last, we can provide you with some formula to help over a small period of time to ensure your child is fed while you are locating additional formula.

Our team recommends that you DO NOT do the following as alternatives to formula:

  • NEVER add more than the recommended amount of water to powdered or concentrated formula and never add any water to liquid ready-to-feed formula. This can dilute the nutrients which can cause imbalances and may lead to serious health problems.
  • It is not recommended to make homemade formula. The balance of nutrients may be difficult for your baby to digest, may cause kidney or liver damage, and otherwise may not support healthy growth or development.
  • It is also not recommended that you purchase formula from other countries that have not been reviewed / recommended by the FDA.
  • You should also not feed an infant under 1 year of age cow milk or other milk substitutes.

While we are uncertain of how long this formula shortage will last, we are hopeful it will pass soon. If you have any additional questions regarding infant formula, please do not hesitate to contact our team at (513) 232-8100.

Thank you for trusting us with your care.

Resources:

HealthyChildren.org Articles:

World Autism Month

April is World Autism Month which focuses on providing an understanding and acceptance of people with autism.

Do you sometimes wonder why our physicians ask so many questions about your seemingly healthy infant and toddler at their check-up appointments? It is because roughly 1 in 44 of our patients will be diagnosed with Autism. Our pediatricians and team formally utilize autism screening tools at the 18 and 24 month check-up. Our physicians additionally personally assess for development at every check-up visit your child has. Research has shown that early intervention can improve the health of a child with autism.

Your child’s check-up appointments are about more than just immunizations. Their schedule of wellness visits include screenings and assessments recommended at specific times from infancy through adolescence. If you are not up-to-date on your child’s recent check-up, please contact our office or schedule online through the patient portal.

For more resources on Autism, please visit these articles by Healthy Children from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

If you have concerns about your child’s development or need any additional support, please give us a call. We are here for you! (513) 232-8100.

Thank you for trusting us with your child’s care.

 

Need a form completed for school or sports? Check out these tips!

We are approaching the time of year in which many of our patients are needing forms completed for school registrations and sports. We want this process to go as smoothly as possible for you and your family this year. Below are a few tips to help you get your child’s visits and necessary forms completed timely this year.

Before we jump into our tips, we want to encourage you to sign up for our Patient Portal. It is a great way to communicate, send and receive your forms, access vaccine records anytime, update demographic information, and self-schedule appointments.

Scheduling:

We encourage you to be proactive and schedule your child’s annual checkup before the start of school and sports. Our schedules get filled very quickly in the summer for these appointments, so scheduling early helps to ensure you have an appointment when you need it.

One consideration to keep in mind is that insurance companies have policies regarding how often children can complete their annual check-ups. Most require the check-ups to be one year apart from one another. We encourage you to check with your insurance company on this guidance to ensure no surprise bills occur.

Did you know that your child’s checkup is good for 1 year? If you have forms that can be filled out prior to their next regularly scheduled check-up date, the information can be completed based upon their last visit with no additional trips to our offices.

Ways to Prepare for your Visit or Forms:

We encourage you to confirm with your child’s school or child care provider what required vaccines, health records, or forms are needed in advance of your child’s check-up. This will allow us to complete all information your child needs to have completed in one visit.

We ask that the parent or patient portions of the forms be fully completed prior to you submitting a form to us. This includes information such as the patient’s name, date of birth, and any other parent or student information. Also, please be sure to sign all applicable fields for parents and students. We will not complete forms for patients that have not had a check-up within the past 12 months.

Timelines:

Please allow 3-4 business days for our team to complete your forms. This will allow the physicians to have enough time to review, fill out, and complete the forms. If there is a need for a form to be completed sooner, the office policy is to charge a $5.00 expediting fee to have the form completed in 1-2 business days. The fee is due at the time the form arrives in the office. (Multiple forms can be filled out for the $5.00 fee as long as it is the same patient and the forms are dropped off and picked up at the same time.)

We look forward to helping you and your children get prepped and ready for their next daycare, school, or sports events!

Thank you for trusting us with your care!

Anderson Hills Pediatrics

Retirement Announcement

To my patients and families of Anderson Hills Pediatrics:

It is with deep gratitude for the families and staff at Anderson Hills Pediatrics that I announce my retirement from the practice of medicine beginning September 2, 2022.

It has been a pleasure to share my working hours with you over the last 30 years. You have taught me many lessons and I want to let you know how much I appreciate you. I’m looking forward to spending time with my wife, four children and our extended family playing music, working on projects, and enjoying grandchildren.

We will be in contact with you in the coming months to share with you more information on transitions of care with our pediatric team. If you have any immediate questions, please contact Medical Records at 513-232-8100 option 6.

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do in the next six months of medical work at Anderson Hills Pediatrics to be helpful to you or your family. I look forward to seeing you around town and wish you well.

Sincerely,

Dr. Vennemeyer

 

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