Prioritizing Your Child’s Mental Health and Wellness

At no time in our history have our children been bombarded with as many distractions, fears, anxieties, and mixed messages than now. Parents can be overwhelmed with the multitude of issues that are involved with raising children like keeping them physically healthy and encouraging good learning habits. Added to those tasks, a parent must also focus on prioritizing their child’s mental health and wellness. In today’s world that can seem an insurmountable task, but it can be accomplished with the right tools.

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What To Expect During Your Child’s Well-Child Visit

Just as adults need to see their physician at least once a year for a wellness visit, so do children. You wouldn’t hesitate to take them if they are sick, but it’s just as beneficial to take them when they are not. It’s a way to be sure your child is developing according to certain benchmarks and that there are no medical or developmental issues. If this is news to you, here is what to expect during your child’s well-child visit.

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Ohio COVID-19 Vaccine Update–What Does It Mean for Your Child?

COVID-19 Vaccination: Questions and Answers

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout now includes people as young as sixteen.  Do you recommend it in patients this young?

YES! We believe in the safety and effectiveness of all of the COVID-19 vaccines, but only one vaccine is currently approved for children under age 18 (see below).

Now that 16-year-old persons can be vaccinated, is Pediatric Associates going to offer the COVID-19 vaccine?

Not yet.  This vaccine was designed for large vaccine clinics, and not for storage in an office refrigerator to give at regular checkups.  As we work out logistics with storage and vaccine supply, we hope to offer this in the future. Stay tuned!

If my child is eligible, where can I go to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Ohio Department of Health has an excellent tool to guide you through the process of 1) finding out if you are eligible, 2) finding a vaccine location near you, and 3) schedule an appointment.  Go to this website for the quickest way to get this done:

Which COVID-19 vaccine will my child receive?

Right now, the only approved vaccines for persons under age 18 is the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, which requires two doses.  But, this vaccine, and others, are undergoing testing in younger age groups.  We expect this to change by the end of summer.

Which COVID-19 vaccine is the best for my child?

The best vaccine for your child is the vaccine your child can get as soon as possible.

If I take my child to get a COVID-19 vaccine, should I just go ahead and get her/his shots for school at the same time?

NO. Because safety and effectiveness data are not available when given with other vaccines, the CDC recommends waiting at least 14 days between a COVID-19 vaccine dose and any other vaccines (there are exceptions for vaccines that need done emergently, like tetanus after a cut, or rabies vaccine after a rabies exposure).

Where can I find more information on the COVID-19 vaccines?

Here are some reliable websites to use as resources for the COVID-19 vaccines:

Young Athletes and COVID-19: When Can My Child Return To Play?

Why does my child need a doctor’s clearance to return to sports after a COVID-19 infection?

Researchers have found that a significant number of young, healthy people who have had a COVID-19 infection have evidence of inflammation in the heart (called myocarditis).  We have not seen this as much with other viruses. While we are not sure exactly what this means in all children, the concern is that this inflammation can lead to a condition which could cause sudden collapse during vigorous exercise.

How long does my child need to rest before being cleared to return to play?

All athletes will need a rest period of 10 days after she/he tested positive.  Also, if your child had symptoms, then he/she should be symptom free before she/he returns to play.  These are the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Does my child need to have tests done to see if they are OK to play?

If your child had significant symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, or needed to be hospitalized, she/he should have an evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist before returning to play.  If your child had the following symptoms, they should also see a pediatric cardiologist before returning to play:

  • Fever of greater than 100.4 for three days, plus at least ONE of the following symptoms:
  • shortness of breath
  • general exhaustion, discomfort, or not feeling well
  • rash
  • deep muscle pain or muscle aches
  • chills/shivering during fever

I thought my child would just need an EKG or a heart ultrasound (ECHO) to return to play.  Is this true?

Actually, the EKG and cardiac ultrasound (ECHO) tests will miss at least 50% of patients with heart inflammation.  If your child had the above symptoms, we will recommend a consult with a pediatric cardiologist first.  Our local pediatric cardiologists MAY recommend a cardiac MRI as the best available test to diagnose myocarditis (heart inflammation).


If my child is “cleared” to play sports, does that mean he/she can play in a game right away?

No.  Much like returning to play after a concussion, children will have to work with an athletic trainer or responsible adult to start a gradual progression back to playing her/his sport.  This is a lot like returning to play after a concussion.  If the athlete doesn’t have any symptoms during this progression, then he/she may return to full sports activity, including games.

My child had very mild symptoms, or no symptoms of their COVID-19 infection.  But, I’m still worried about inflammation in the heart.  Can my child get a cardiac MRI or a visit with a cardiologist?

Yes.  If you have concerns about heart inflammation, either based on what you’ve heard in the news, or your child’s symptoms, we will be happy to refer you to the pediatric cardiologists to evaluate your child, who can guide you on the next steps and any testing that may be needed.


Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Which vaccines are approved by the FDA?

The Pfizer product has been granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA in age 16 and older (two doses, 21 days apart).  Moderna has had a vaccine approved last week for ages 18 and older (two doses, one month apart).  Officially the FDA has not approved the “routine” use of any vaccine yet.

Is the vaccine safe?

From what we can tell the vaccines are very safe and effective. The mRNA technology has been in development for years, and will NOT cause changes in your own DNA.

The new vaccines coming from Novavax and Johnson and Johnson use different technology.  Johnson and Johnson uses an “adenovirus vector” to deliver the protein to trigger the immune system. This is NOT a live virus vaccine and you can’t get adenovirus from taking it.  The Novavax vaccine is a spike protein plus an “adjuvant” which helps the immune system spring into action. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is only ONE DOSE. The Novavax vaccine, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, is a two-dose vaccine.

Could I, or my child, get COVID-19 from this vaccine?

No.  The vaccine does not contain active or killed virus particles and the vaccine will not make a virus in your body.

Is this vaccine available for my child now?

If your child is 1 years or older and has a qualifying health condition, he/she may be able to get the vaccine soon. Right now the vaccine supply is very limited. Ohio is now in Phase 1B of distribution.  See this link for more information:

Once vaccine becomes more available, more people will be able to receive it.  However, this vaccine has NOT been tested in patients under 12 years old.  Studies are ongoing in the 12-16 year old age group, and we expect some news on this by summer.

It is expected, that by spring of 2021, the general public (at least ages 16 and above) will be able to receive the vaccine.

My child has Crohn’s Disease and is on a medication that reduces her immunity. Will she be able to get the vaccine?

Yes, when the Ohio Department of Health opens up the criteria for these patients. The vaccines have not yet been tested in patients who have reduced immunity (commonly called “immunosuppression”).  Two questions are: 1) are they safe? and 2) will they produce a good immune response?  Most likely we will have more answers to these questions as the vaccine is more widely studied and distributed.

If the vaccine becomes available for children, can it be given with other childhood immunizations?

The vaccines have NOT been studied when given with other vaccines.  So the short answer, we do not know.  Right now, it is recommended that the Pfizer vaccine NOT be given within 14 days of another immunization.

If I or my child get the vaccine, how long does it take for us to get immunity?

About 1 to 2 weeks after the second dose of the vaccine.

How long does the immunity last?

We still need to check on the first patients who received vaccine in the studies.  But we can say at least 4 months for sure right now.

Will we need to get the vaccine every year, like a flu shot?

That is not known at this time. We don’t think so, as this virus so far has not produced different strains like the flu does each year.

If I’m pregnant or nursing, is it safe for ME to get the vaccine to protect my family?

Most likely there is no problem with doing this. The vaccine has NOT been studied in pregnant or lactating women, but many pregnant and breastfeeding women have received the vaccine since it came out and so far, so good. There is no reason to believe that they will be dangerous, but those studies have not been done yet.

If I get the first dose of the vaccine with the Pfizer vaccine, but another vaccine becomes available before I need the second dose, could I get the second dose from a different company?

There is no evidence this will work.  For right now, we recommend that if more than one dose is needed, it SHOULD be from the same manufacturer.

Will Pediatric Associates be offering any COVID-19 vaccines?

Probably not until the vaccine is more widely available.  We will have to wait and see if we get any of the vaccine, and how much.  We will offer it to eligible patients who are interested in the vaccination if we are able to get it.

How will I know when you are offering the vaccine?

Check our social media posts (Facebook and Twitter), and our on-hold messages.

Will there be a waiting list?

We don’t know yet.  Children in general are at lower risk, so they most likely will have to wait longer than adults and those with special health conditions.

How much will it cost, and will my insurance cover it?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the details on this yet.  Contact your insurance company to find out about coverage.  Each plan may be different.

My child had COVID-19 already.  Can he get the vaccine?  Is it safe?

The vaccine appears to be safe for those who have had the infection already.  It is NOT recommended to give the vaccine to someone who has a CURRENT COVID-19 infection.  For the Pfizer vaccine, it looks like a 90 day wait period AFTER a COVID-19 infection may be the best time to get the vaccine, but more evidence is needed.

What about these new virus “variants?” Do the vaccines work against them?

There are several new variants that have cropped up.  This is normal for viruses to do this. Mostly they make the virus more contagious. It does look like the strain out of South Africa (the B.1.135 strain) may be more resistant to some of the vaccines, especially the Novavax and Johnson and Johnson products.  More time is needed to determine if this is  problem and what we need to do about it.

What about these severe allergic reactions I’ve been hearing about?  My child has allergies.  Should I be worried?

In general, if your child has allergies, they should be fine to receive the vaccine if they are otherwise eligible.  Here’s where we need to worry:

If a patient has had an anaphylactic (life-threatening) reaction to any other vaccine, they should NOT receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
If a patient has had an anaphylactic reaction to any component in the COVID-19 vaccine, they should not receive the vaccine.
If a patient has had ANY other type of anaphylactic reaction other than above, they should be observed for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.
All other patients should be observed for 15 minutes in the office after receiving the vaccine.

Covid-19 Update

Franklin County and the city of Columbus have issued a Stay At Home advisory. This is not a mandate, but we all have to take this seriously.
What does this mean at Pediatric Associates?
First of all, we will continue to do everything we can to keep you and your family safe.
We will keep up our rigorous COVID-19 pre-visit screening.
We will continue to room patients from the car.
We will continue to separate our well and non-contagious patients from our potentially contagious patients.
We will continue to require masks for those over 2 yrs old to enter our office.
We will still have our staff use masks and goggles.
We will send home any staff with symptoms, to make sure they are not contagious.
We want you to keep your appointments for well child care. It is important to keep up on needed evaluations of growth and development, and stay up to date on vaccines.
We will offer virtual visits for certain ill visits and follow up visits, to reduce your risk of coming out into a public place.
We will still see your child if he/she is sick. We have taken every precaution available to help you and your family. WE WON’T CLOSE.
We will continue to be here for you and your children.

Dr. Boyle

We have great news!

Dr. Sandra Boyle will be returning to the office on November 4th, 2020!! She is very excited to see her patients again!

Also, we have begun to see patients in our Canal Winchester office at 7750 Diley Road! If you are in the Canal Winchester area, you may schedule an appointment by calling 614-837-7337.

Preventative Care

In this time of uncertainty, we’d like to express the importance of keeping up on well care and childhood immunizations as well as keeping asthma symptoms under control. Taking these preventative steps ensures your child will remain healthy and safe from diseases and symptoms that can occur beyond COVID-19. Please call at your earliest convenience to schedule your well appointments.

It is recommended that children with asthma see their healthcare provider every 6-12 months to evaluate asthma control, asthma severity, and potential risk factors. Our Respiratory Therapist and Pediatricians work with families to develop personalized care plans and tools to help manage asthma at home.

These visits have been proven to reduce asthma exacerbations and risk of hospitalizations. Please call us at your earliest convenience to schedule an appointment in our asthma clinic.

It is not too late for a flu vaccine to protect your child!

All locations are having flu vaccination clinics through the month of November. There are various hours throughout the practice. Please call one of our locations in Hilliard, Whitehall, Pickerington, Lewis Center or Canal Winchester for scheduling details.

Safety Precautions

Pediatric Associates Inc. continues to separate well visits and ill visits for all patients at all locations AND we continue to have virtual visits for certain types of illness and behavioral health appointments. Thank you for your patience during this time of social distancing and for entrusting us with your child’s healthcare needs.

At this time we require that all visitors and patients over two years old bring a face covering or mask and wear it throughout the visit.
We require you to limit to one adult/parent/guardian for each visit unless there are specific circumstances which prohibit this.
If you or your child are not well, we ask that you call to reschedule any well visits.
Temperatures will be taken at the door and anyone with fever or symptoms of respiratory illness will be asked to return during our ill appointments or telehealth times.
Check ins are being done remotely through your devices and you will be asked to wait in your car until notified that someone will meet you at the door to be roomed.