Todd Harris, M.D.

Now Scheduling COVID-19 Vaccinations at RCAM

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

Originally Posted on May 21, 2021 – You may have heard that all RCAM Pediatricians enthusiastically endorse the COVID-19 Vaccination for all eligible patients, but have you heard this:

RCAM is now scheduling COVID-19 Vaccination for all of our patients 12 years old and up.

Some important details:

  • The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine has been approved for adolescents 12 years old and up.
  • We will administer the vaccine at appointments designated for vaccine only. We will be unable to add a COVID-19 Vaccine to any other type of visit.
  • You may call to schedule your child’s COVID-19 Vaccination appointment beginning today, Friday, May 21st.
  • Our schedulers can only take calls for these appointments on weekdays during regular business hours. Please do not call on the weekend to schedule vaccination appointments.
  • The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine has shown to be very effective after completing two (2) doses separated by 21 days. When you call to schedule, we will require setting dates for both doses.
  • You may have read that this vaccine has some very specific storage requirements. For that reason, we will not be scheduling any drive thru vaccine clinics (it saddens me to write that – stay tuned). Each appointment will be indoors at our Duraleigh office (follow the signs to our backdoor entrance).

As vaccination rates have gone up, it has been exciting to see cases go down.

Let’s all do what we can to control COVID-19.


Todd Harris, M.D.

May 14, 2021 – From the above link:

“The AAP recommends adolescents ages 12 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19 now that federal health officials have signed off on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for these ages.”

You can add the pediatricians at Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine as enthusiastically supporting this recommendation.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Coming to RCAM in June

We anticipate having the necessary approvals and logistics together by June to begin vaccinations in our office (it’s a real process).

IMPORTANT NOTE: We are currently not scheduling patients until more details have been finalized (we will post here when we begin to schedule those visits).

Due to the ultra-cold storage requirements for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, it appears we will only be offering the vaccine at appointments specifically designated ‘COVID Vaccine only’ and will not be able to offer it during other visits.

More details to come…

RCAM Enthusiastically Endorses Vaccination Against COVID-19

The pediatricians at RCAM have been asked quite a bit, “Do you recommend getting the COVID Vaccine for yourself? …for your children? …for you patients?”

Here are some of the ways I have responded to that question (different answers, same conclusion):

  • Short answer: “YES!”
  • Less short answer (I call this my ‘sound bite’ answer because it is brief but also speaks to weighing the pros and cons with the decision to vaccinate): “I trust the COVID-19 Vaccine much more than I trust the COVID-19 virus, so ‘yes’ – I recommend everyone who is eligible to get the COVID Vaccine.”
  • Longer answer link (some of you are into that): here (general info), here (videos from Paul Offit, MD of Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia), here (safety)
  • Most convincing answer (for me): “Every pediatrician at RCAM – every pediatrician I know – each one works everyday on the front lines of taking care of children – each one are so convinced that without hesitation they received the COVID Vaccine for themselves (I witnessed a few crying not from the pain of the shot but from the joy of being able to avoid a terrible virus), recommend it to others, and are currently planning vaccination for their own children as it comes available. That confirms to me everything I need to know.”

Places to get COVID-19 Vaccine Now

I don’t blame you for not wanting to wait. I’m not waiting. My 14-year-old is scheduled to get her first dose of COVID Vaccine today at Walgreens.

The CDC website has so much good information (It is a good place to start for all things COVID).

They have a good summary on CDC.gov of where you can find the vaccine (here).

The most practical option I have used myself: text your ZIP code to 438829 and you pretty immediately get a listing of who is offering COVID Vaccine in your area.

 

 


Todd Harris, M.D.

Join RCAM and Let’s All Drive Thru The Flu

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

September 28, 2020 – If anyone ever tells you that moving a vaccine clinic outdoors is no big deal, remember these words:

RCAM moved its flu vaccine clinic outdoors this week, and it was a big deal.

Since March, our experience with the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic made clear the need to decrease everyone’s risk – risks to our patients as well as to our staff.

With that goal in mind, we made plans to safely dispense something else that decreases our collective health risk: the flu (influenza) vaccine.

After months of planning, this week saw the very first RCAM Flu Vaccine Drive Thru.

Tireless work from some of our best made this possible. Kudos to Office Manager Brian, Administrative Office Manager Theresa, Head Nurse Amanda, nurses Kathy and Megan, and Dr. Meares.

Some Pictures (and One Video):

↓  This past Saturday was like driving South on Six Forks Road with three lanes going strong

:

↓  Saturday’s three lane clinic crew was all business

↓  Sunday and the one lane setup (Drive thru rule: you can never have too many traffic cones)

↓  Sunday’s crew wanted to prove to Dr. Meares that they could get it all on one cart (Krispy Kreme donuts – sadly – are not an official Flu Vaccine Drive Thru item and therefore were not required to fit on the cart)

↓  A word from our sponsor… (made possible by Emily and an anonymous sidewalk chalk novice)


Todd Harris, M.D.

If you have a sick child…

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

  • Sick children can be evaluated by one of our pediatricians either online through a TeleHealth visit or an in-person sick visit at our Brier Creek office
  • Our phone nurse is available to speak with you to determine the best type of visit for evaluating your child
    1. TeleHealth visits – In an effort to limit illness exposure, we may choose to evaluated your child may be evaluated through a TeleHealth appointment
    2. In-person sick visits without symptoms typical of Coronavirus / COVID-19 – these visits occur inside at the Brier Creek office (exam rooms are sanitized between each patient)
    3. In-person sick visits with possible symptoms of Coronavirus / COVID-19 – these visits occur outside the Brier Creek office in our Brier Creek Curbside Clinic (pictured here)

Somethings haven’t changed

  • The number to call is still 919-781-7490
  • Routine requests are still handled weekdays between 8am and 5pm
  • Urgent needs on evenings, weekends and holidays are still managed by our On Call Team
  • After hours backup number is 919-831-5526

 

Last updated 08/04/2020


Todd Harris, M.D.
  • Only well patients are being seen at our Duraleigh office
  • Call and schedule an appointment
  • Sick individuals may not accompany the well check (no sick siblings; no sick parents; everyone in your party needs to be well)
  • Exam rooms are sanitized between each patient

Somethings haven’t changed

  • The number to call is still 919-781-7490
  • Routine requests are still handled weekdays between 8am and 5pm
  • Urgent needs on evenings, weekends and holidays are still managed by our On Call Team
  • After hours backup number is 919-831-5526

Last updated 08/04/2020


Todd Harris, M.D.
  • Arrive a few minutes before your appointment
  • Call our office 919-781-7490 from the parking lot
  • If your appointment is at the Duraleigh office, a nurse will speak to you by phone while you are still in the parking lot to confirm that no symptoms of illness are present; if any symptoms are present or there has been a significant exposure, your appointment will need to be rescheduled
  • At both offices, another phone call will let you know that a nurse is ready to greet you at the office and take you to an exam room

Somethings haven’t changed

  • The number to call is still 919-781-7490
  • Routine requests are still handled weekdays between 8am and 5pm
  • Urgent needs on evenings, weekends and holidays are still managed by our On Call Team
  • After hours backup number is 919-831-5526

Last updated 08/04/2020


Todd Harris, M.D.

UPDATE: Now Scheduling Well Visits for Any Age

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

June 9, 2020 – You may now call and schedule your child’s well visit – previous restrictions on which well visits we can schedule have been removed.

Let’s review where things are now with RCAM Pandemic Mode:

UPDATE: SCHEDULING A VISIT

  • All well visits are scheduled to be seen at our Duraleigh office
    • RECENT CHANGE: Now scheduling well visits for children of any age
  • Medication follow-up visits are scheduled for out Duraleigh office
    • RECENT CHANGE: We are moving these from TeleHealh visits back to in-office visits
    • Examples of this type of visit: ADHD follow-up, Asthma follow-up, follow-up of any condition where our pediatricians are prescribing ongoing medication
  • Any illness – any symptoms that need evaluation: there are 2 ways to initiate an evaluation
    • Option 1: call and speak to one of our nurses
    • Option 2: call and schedule a TeleHealth evaluation with one of our Pediatricians via a video link
    • If further evaluation is needed following one of the above options, the nurse or pediatrician may recommend an in-person visit at the Brier Creek office
      • In person inside the Brier Creek office (illness without typical symptoms of COVID-19)
      • In person outside the Brier Creek office in the Curbside Clinic (typically if symptoms include fever, cough, or shortness of breath)

UPDATE: FOR YOUR SAFETY, THE SAFETY OF OUR STAFF,  AND THE SAFETY OF OTHERS

  1. Wear a Mask: everyone coming inside our office over the age of two years is expected to wear a mask
    • We know there are some situations where wearing a mask is impossible – we understand and that’s okay
  2. Sick individuals may not accompany a visit (no sick siblings; no sick parents; everyone in your party needs to be well)
  3. When possible, only one parent accompany the child being seen
  4. To limit your time / exposure while in our office, call from the parking lot when you arrive – when your room is ready, we will call you to come into the office

Todd Harris, M.D.

UPDATE: Teenage Well Visits

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

May 6, 2020Six weeks ago began “RCAM: Pandemic Mode” as summarized below:

RECAP

  • Only sick patients seen at our Brier Creek office or our Curbside Clinic
  • Only well patients seen at our Duraleigh office
  • We limited our well visit schedule to appointments that were time-sensitive (for example: most newborn care, visits associated with vaccines)
  • Two weeks later we started offering TeleHealth Visits.

We appreciate everyone’s cooperation. Your support of our office during a challenging time has meant a lot.

WE WOULD LIKE TO ADD THE FOLLOWING…

At this time, we will begin to also schedule well visits for all children ages 11 years old and up.

[SIDE NOTE ABOUT SICK VISITS – Sick visits will continue to follow the plan set up in this post from March 22nd – NOW BACK TO WELL VISITS]

These are the well visits we are now scheduling:

  • Any well visit associated with a required vaccine (that includes most well visits under 2 years old and the 4 or 5 year old who need their pre-kindergarten vaccines)
  • Any well visit ages 11 years old and up

ABOUT YOUR WELL VISIT APPOINTMENT

To try and limit exposure to illness for your child and our staff, we will require the following with all well visits:

  1. Sick individuals may not accompany the well check (no sick siblings; no sick parents; everyone in your party needs to be well)
  2. Everyone above the age of two years old needs to wear a mask or face covering when they come to our office (we know it may be a challenge for some, but do the best you can)

Lots of Helpful Information at the CDC Website


Todd Harris, M.D.

Banner Change: Spring 2020 Edition

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

April 8, 2020 – Spring began a few weeks ago and – particularly after this past weekend – it became clear it was time to say Goodbye to Three Girls on a Sled whose carefree ride in the snow takes us back to a time before we had ever thought much about coronavirus and COVID was NO-VID.

Typically, our spring banner includes outdoor, spring activities (duh), but Young Girl and Online School seemed – given our present circumstances – to be a better fit.

[Aside: Of course, if your home is more like mine, this picture would need to include another, younger sister and some dispute about one of them “breathing too loud” and a father – numb to the sibling conflict – working feverishly to be sure the WiFi will produce enough bandwith for school and his office’s Zoom meeting that is scheduled to begin now.]

What Can You Say About This Past Month?

On March 5th we put up our first post about coronavirus disease / COVID-19 when Wake County announced its first case.

Over the last month, we have been gathering as much information as possible and processing it as a group. We have made plans and then remade plans as new information came available..

Medicine is always changing – changing plans is not necessarily a new thing. We always try to do things based on the best and most current information available.

The new thing was the speed of the changes – typically happening over years – these changes were happening over days and in some cases hours.

Let’s review all the changes at RCAM that are still current:

  • All well care is moved to the Duraleigh office – only well children accompanied by a well adult are seen for well visits at Duraleigh
    • We are scheduling only “essential well visits” at this time – those are well visits that have a vaccine associated with them
    • If you had some pressing things you wanted to discuss at a well visit that is on the delayed list, consider scheduling a TeleHealth visit (see below)
  • All sick child care was moved to the Brier Creek office – with a few twists:
    • Twist #1 – Curbside clinic was initiated for children with symptoms suspicious of possible coronavirus
    • Twist #2 – TeleHealth visits are becoming our new normal as a way to safely evaluate patients without the fear of increasing potential exposures
  • All RCAM staff are now wearing masks and gloves – at both offices – add to that lots of hand washing and not touching your face and cleaning rooms after every patient

All of these changes were made to be as safe as possible yet still available to our patient families, to reduce exposures, and to slow the spread of coronavirus / COVID-19.

TeleHealth Medicine

TeleHealth Visits have some limits though I am surprised at how typically they can identify something treatable or rule out the need to come to our office or the Urgent Care or the Emergency Department.

We have spots available. Call and schedule a visit. The steps are laid out here.

Easter Holiday is Coming Up This Weekend

Good Friday is an official RCAM office holiday, so this Friday the 10th we will operate like we have on recent weekends:

  • We will have an early clinic for newborns who need to be followed up from the past week
  • All sick patients will be evaluated through TeleHealth visits

Meanwhile, The Brian Carter Era Began at RCAM

Brian Carter is our new office manager.

He began to learn the RCAM secrets when he started in December but he didn’t take the reins completely until after February 28th when Debbie Maness retired as our office manager after 42 years (!).

He hit the ground running. Brian would probably describe it more like a chase – as in it felt like he was being chased by a lion – as his first week on the job was highlighted by a pandemic.

Brian has been great. More about him later, but it is about time we introduced him to our extended RCAM-ily.

If you see someone in our office wearing a tie that doesn’t feature Sponge Bob (Dr. Sena) – that is more than likely Briangive him a big Hello and Welcome.

Given the circumstances of his first month, he could probably use the encouragement.

Thank You

I am sure that everyone could use some encouragement.

The response of our administrative staff and nurses has been spectacular. The general day-to-day pressure on a pediatric staff is underrated, and now they quite suddenly have found themselves on one of the front lines of a pandemic.

They have handled some tough circumstances with a lot of grace and professionalism.

As pediatricians, we’ve had to work together even more than we usually do – Zoom meeting almost daily – making new plans and changing protocols that we just wrote. We have found another gear with how we work with and relate to one another and personally that has been great.

Patients and their families have even asked if they can help.

We have been gifted at least one box of N95 masks and numerous homemade masks.

Finally, the Raleigh pediatric medical community really stepped up. Specifically, Oberlin Road Pediatrics and Carolina Kids Pediatrics both sought us out directly. As it turns out, we didn’t need the help, but it meant a lot to hear from them, and we hope to return the favor sometime.

That’s how we’re all going to get through this – finding ways to help each other out.

Epilogue: Somewhat Related

For anyone still reading this, I had this post all ready to go late Sunday night.

I saved it to my computer and walked upstairs to say good night to my daughters.

When I returned, my screen looked entirely different.There were characters I had never seen before – and about 80% of my original post was completely gone. I tried to pull up the post I had saved, yet somehow that had been updated to the now-80%-gone post.

Buddy Caught Red HandedSitting two feet away from me was the cause: Buddy, our orange tabby cat.

He has a penchant for getting comfortable in odd places – for example, he loves climbing and lying on top of backpacks.

He is also well known in our house – as pictured here in what I call “Exhibit A” – for getting comfortable on my computer keyboard.

The post finally got done and I believe I have been forgiven for the words that came out of my mouth that night.

Happy Easter to everyone!

Try to enjoy what you can about being locked down with people who are likely pretty important to you – and try to ignore all of their loud breathing.


Todd Harris, M.D.

April 7, 2020 – If you have the CDC app like me, you probably got a notification like this yesterday.

From the CDC website, more detail about their recent recommendation for more general use of masks in the community:

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

We wish our office could offer all patients a mask but supplies are limited. Therefore,,,,

…RCAM is asking families who come into our office to bring their own masks if at all possible.

There is a lot of information available online about how to make and use a mask.

  • More Involved, No Elastic – here is a much more involved mask that is made without any elastic – like toilet paper, elastic has been recently become hard to find

Thank You

We’ve seen a lot of generosity – families have donated masks to our office – both medical grade N95 masks as well as homemade masks.

Bonnie, one of our nurses / lactation consultants / multi-talented individual, has sewn and donated herself an untold number of masks made from all kinds of fabrics.

Here is a picture of the best one she made: