Todd Harris, M.D.

October 14, 2020 – Planning to get your child’s flu vaccine completed for this winter’s flu season?

October is a great time to get that done.

Somewhat Breaking News: we have just ADDED MORE RCAM Drive Thru Flu Vaccine Clinics.

Notes about the Outdoor, Drive Thru Flu Vaccine Clinic:

  • First, let’s be clear: the flu vaccine is the best known thing to prevent flu illness. This year is as good a year as any to try to control what you can control.
  • The drive thru vaccine clinic has been very popular because it provides limited exposure and lots of time efficiency
  • Dr. Meares says we still have some gift cards for a free scoop of Goodberry’s for those who get their flu shot [FYI: these are available while supplies last and Saturday’s Goodberry’s flavor of the day is salted caramel ]
  • Another scoop not to be overlooked: we’ve noticed fewer tears from our patients who get their shot done in the drive thru
  • Flu vaccine is administered by appointment only

These will fill up fast. Call and schedule an appointment: 919-781-7490

Drive Thru The Flu!


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.

September 18, 2020 – There have been so many changes this past year – something should remain the same. Back for its annual appearance to announce the beginning of Flu Vaccination season, this image of a box of flu vaccine from 2015 (one of those years when we never realized just how good we had it).

Unofficial RCAM press release:

Once again, RCAM is here to provide your child’s flu vaccine. New this year: Drive Thru Flu Vaccination Clinics! Due to the COVID pandemic, many of our flu vaccine clinics will be outside. Thanks to our special nurses and front office workers for helping us pull this off! There will still be some indoor clinics, so that will remain an option – particularly for egg-allergic patients. If your child needs a flu shot, please give us a call.”

Some Important Details

  • Flu Vaccine will be given by appointment only (no ‘walk ins’ and no ‘tag alongs’ – everyone getting a Flu Vaccine must have an appointment)
  • Insurance information will be collected over the phone when appointment is being scheduled
  • If your child is sick, we will reschedule their appointment for when they are feeling better
  • Everyone over 3 years old is expected to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose at all times while interacting with our nurses and office staff

New this Year: Outdoor Drive Thru

  • Coronavirus ruins everything – except it may have just taken Flu Vaccine clinic to the next level
  • Drive Thru Flu Vaccine clinic is just what it sounds like: after making your appointment, pull up to our outdoor clinic, get your flu vaccine, and drive off without ever taking off your seat belt
  • Offered at both our Brier Creek office (weekdays generally) and Duraleigh office (weekends)

An Old Classic: Indoor Flu Vaccine Clinic

  • We continue to offer some indoor flu vaccine clinics
  • Like most things we now do, these appointments have been modified to limit your exposures

Still No Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

  • I know some of you are going to be asked this question so I’ll answer it now: we will not be offering the Flumist nasal spray flu vaccine (and I am not sure of anyone offering it in our area)

Very Important: Help Us Safely Administer the Flu Vaccine

  • Be careful with your car in the drive thru clinic – pay attention to signs and to others around you
  • Remain in your car; children should remain in their car seat unless instructed otherwise by one our nurses
  • Dress your children to get the vaccine: that means loose fitting, short pants for children under 12 years or those who prefer to get a shot in their thigh and loose fitting, short sleeved shirts for those 12 and up
  • Also safe is controlling the things we can control: get your child their flu shot, wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice safe physical distancing

Todd Harris, M.D.

September 3, 2020 – You are beginning to see Flu (Influenza) vaccine being offered in our community in anticipation the 2020-2021 Flu season.

When is the best time to get Flu Vaccine?

My general advice about Flu vaccine is to get it as soon as and wherever you can – whether it is from our office, your local pharmacy, your workplace, etc.

However, in a year like this year when we are not expecting a shortage (that couldn’t happen in 2020, right?), it is probably best to wait until mid-September or October to get it so that you are most likely to still have coverage during the most active time of Flu season.

Flu vaccine lasts about 6 months and Flu illness is typically most active in January, February, and March.

Drive-Thru Flu Vaccine Clinic: Announcement Coming Soon

We are beginning to get some of our supply and will have a formal announcement soon about how we plan to give it to our patients.

COVID-19 impacts everything – as we have all learned – and this will be no exception.

We are currently making preparations for a “Drive-Thru” Flu Vaccine Clinic to minimize potential exposures for our families.

Don’t Call to Schedule a Flu Vaccine Appointment Quite Yet

In the next few weeks, we will post our official announcement about Flu vaccine for the 2020-21 Flu Season.

At that time, we will start scheduling patients.


Todd Harris, M.D.

September 26, 2019 – It came a little later than usual – but still with plenty of time to have your child vaccinated before we see increasing flu illness.

Now Is A Good Time To Schedule Your Child’s Flu Vaccination

  • We have flu vaccine for ALL children ages 6 months old and up
  • Call and schedule an appointment for your children in one of our Flu Vaccination Clinics
  • Flu illness is most common in the fall and winter; the incidence starts to go up in October; the peak incidence is typically not until February
  • Flu vaccine provides coverage for about six months – that means if you get a Flu Vaccine today, you can expect it to be working for you through the end of March

Some Facts About Flu Vaccine

  • Flu vaccine decreases the likelihood of catching the flu. In other words, some children who get flu vaccine may still catch the flu – but you have a better chance of not catching the flu if you have had your flu vaccine
  • Flu vaccine does not cause the flu – the CDC has more details about why we are so sure that flu vaccine does not cause the flu (and other flu vaccine misconceptions) here
  • We again are only offering the ‘flu shot’ version of the flu vaccinemaybe next year, but so far the information about Flumist (the ‘nasal spray’ version) has not convinced pediatricians that it is back to being effective again
  • We have both state-supplied and private-supplied flu vaccine – both are the same flu vaccine – the only difference is who is providing the vaccine

Dr. Gessner Demonstrates the Appropriate Mood…

…When all your children have had their flu vaccine prior to flu season…


Todd Harris, M.D.

Banner Change: Fall 2019 Edition

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

August 30, 2019 – In an historic first, we will be changing our website banner a wee bit early.

Fall doesn’t come until September 23rd but announcements have been piling up.

Also, the weather has been a little cooler (I know – I am sure we’ll be in the 90s by the time this posts) and college football begins a full schedule this weekend so here we go…

…we bid adieu to Three Girls on the Beach and hello to Young Girl With Yellow Umbrella in Autumn Park.

1-Dr. Carr Retires

This one will take some time to absorb and appreciate the significance of a career that spanned 40 continuous years at RCAM.

Dr. Carr would like me to keep this brief. May I refer you to the article below for (a few) more details.

2-Nurse Chessica Had Her Baby

Some of you have been following the pregnancy of Chessicaone of our nurses at our Duraleigh office whose name rhymes with Jessica.

She and her husband welcomed Baby Boy Parrish just a few days ago. He weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces.

They feel very blessica-ed. 😀

3-Pediatrician Formerly Known As Emily Ross, MD: Now Known As Emily Mims, MD

In the spring we reported that our very own Emily Ross, MD was getting married.

With Dr. Carr retiring and Emily now Dr. Mims, it is taking some time to update letterhead, name tags, door placards,etc…. but don’t let that confuse you when you see or hear Dr. Mims’ name.

4-Labor Day Holiday

REMINDER: It’s Labor Day weekend. As usual, we will be around.

5-Flu Vaccine 2019-2020

It wouldn’t be a Fall Banner change without mentioning Influenza (“Flu”) Vaccine.

Our supply won’t arrive before October (though it appears the pharmacies already have their supply). October and November are typically good months to get your flu vaccine. Injectible flu vaccine lasts about 6 months. If you get your flu vaccine in October, it should last through March – which is good because that is typically a busy month for flu. Stay tuned though as there have been some reports of early flu activity.


Todd Harris, M.D.

Banner Change: Winter 2019 Edition

Written by Todd Harris, M.D.

Winter 2019 Banner

January 7, 2019 – Just a brief note because I know many of you carefully follow this: back on the first day of winter – December 21st – we replaced our fall banner depicting “Children Hugging in a Field of Hay” with our current winter banner: “Children Frolicking in Snow.”

With that technical note behind us – now – on to the important stuff:

#1) Influenza (Flu) Season Update 2018-2019

We still have flu vaccine for all patients except children 3 years and older with private insurance.

It is very unlikely that we will receive any more flu vaccine this season.

Here is a list of places where you can go and get your child a flu shot. We still recommend getting a flu vaccine as most of this season’s flu is still to come (in typical years, most flu arrives in January and February).

PLUG FOR NEXT YEAR #1: Get your flu vaccine next year in October. When you think of Halloween, think of a flu shot! October and November is when the flu vaccine is often in its best supply.

#2) How Much Flu are We Seeing So Far?

Pictured below are influenza statistics for North Carolina from about a week ago (the week ending December 29, 2018) for this year as well as the previous two flu seasons.

This year is the bright red line. You can see that this year is behind last year’s numbers (the dark gray line) for that particular week. You may recall that last year was a worse than typical flu season.

You can also see this year’s number of flu cases is beginning to rise a bit more quickly (see how the red line takes that left turn compared to the earlier trajectory).

That means – in the briefest of terms – there is a lot more flu to come (or as Mark Stoops would say, “We are just getting started bro.”).

# 3) 2019 – A Big Year Coming Up At RCAM

Dr. Muff Carrafter 40 years in the practice of pediatrics at Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine – will be retiring in August.

FORTY years! Holy Cow. Incredible. That’s a lot of children getting great care.

NOTE: Do NOT tell her I told you. It’s not a secret but she made me promise to not make a fuss (for those of you who know her, you know that’s classic Dr. Carr). I don’t think this is a ‘fuss’ but… you gotta find out somehow.

#4) Thanks for Your Cards!

Every December our staff gets a big kick when we receive your holiday cards.

We get cards for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year – we’ve even gotten a few Halloween cards. We have chosen December – the time when we get the most cards – as the time to display them all.

We’ve even gone so far as to meticulously save and file away cards from previous years – that way, when we receive a current card, we get to display it with all of that families past cards.

In some instances, we have cards from each year from families going back to 2008 (the year we got the bright idea to start saving your cards). So, when that family’s cards go up, they may have 10 or 12 including past years.

To say the least, we all love having a visual of your children growing up year after year after year.

This year we received holiday cards from 63 different families. Including the cards from previous years for those 63 families, we got to display a total of 278 family holiday cards.

PLUG FOR NEXT YEAR #2: I know that some of you are sending out cards and might not think of your pediatrician. It’s okay. We know. When your child is healthy, we are some of the last people you want to think about. Please… consider sending us a card (feel free to include cards from previous years; we have a lot of wall space we like to cover up in December):

Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine
Holiday Card Department
3100 Duraleigh Road, Suite 300

Raleigh, NC 27612

 

In summary:

  1. More flu is coming.
  2. We still recommend flu vaccine for this year.
  3. Next year: When Halloween comes, get your flu shot!
  4. Also next year, send us your family holiday card.
  5. Do not tell Dr. Carr.

Ben Meares, M.D.

Get Your Flu Shot

December 12, 2018 – As of today, the status of flu vaccine supply here at Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine:

RCAM Privately-supplied flu vaccine (private insurance):

  • Infants and Children UNDER 3 YEARS OLD: in stock
  • Children and Teens 3 YEARS & OLDER: OUT OF STOCK

RCAM State-supplied flu vaccine (Medicaid & uninsured)

  • Infants and Children UNDER 3 YEARS OLD: in stock
  • Children and Teens 3 YEARS & OLDER: in stock

Alternative sites that offer flu vaccine for children

NOTE: RCAM prefers that all pediatric medical care be rendered by your child’s medical home for consistency of care and continuity of medical record. We believe in the quality of pediatric medical care that is provided at RCAM. However, we also recognize that is not always possible, and, for the purpose of getting a flu vaccine, these are sound resources.

  • Ages 6 months and older:

    1. Wake County Health Department; 919-250-3900;
      • Walk-ins only at Sunnybrook Road location in “Clinic E” on Thursdays from 8:30am-10:30am
      • For appointment, call 919-250-3947
      • More information at wakegov.com
    2. WakeMed Urgent Care; 919-789-4322
      • Walk-Ins welcome
      • 2406 Blue Ridge Road, #190, Raleigh, NC 27607
    3. Passport Health; 919-781-0053 (Raleigh); 919-781-0053 (Cary)
      • No walk-Ins; appointment only; $40
      • 3100 Duraleigh Road (same building as our Duraleigh office), Suite 210, Raleigh, NC 27612
      • 8450 Chapel Hill Road, Suite 205, Cary, NC 27513
  • Ages 18 months and older:

    1. CVS Minute Clinic
  • Ages 14 years and older:

    1. Walgreens Pharmacy
    2. Rite Aid Pharmacy

 


Todd Harris, M.D.

October 20, 2018 – I interupt this Banner Change post for an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

Flu Vaccine: Available for All RCAM Patients

We now have adequate amounts of both state-supplied and privately-supplied flu vaccine. Flu Vaccine Clinic appointment slots are now open all RCAM patients.

Whether you have private insurance… Whether you have Medicaid insurance... Whether you are uninsured… RCAM now has flu vaccine for all RCAM patients.

Call us at 919-781-7490 and schedule your child to get their flu vaccine.

2018-2019 Flu Season: Way-Too-Early Statistics

North Carolina Weekly Influenza Surveillance Summary 10-13-2018

Sure. There is some flu out there right now – that red line picture above that depicts the 2018-2019 Flu Season shows that there isn’t much flu illness out there… yet.

The amount of flu we are seeing now is nothing like what we typically see later during the more active parts of flu season.

Take advantage of the slow part of flu season and prepare. Do your part for your family and for yourself: Go get your flu shot.

Decrease Your and Your Family’s Chance of Getting a Serious Illness

By getting your flu vaccine you know that – by the time we get to the busy part of flu season – you’ve done what you can do to limit your chance of getting the flu.

That’s what you are doing when you get your flu shot: you are reducing your chance of catching a very difficult illness.

Flu vaccine doesn’t eliminate the possibility of catching flu. It also doesn’t cause the flu. It does cut your chance of catching the flu.

I like that. Less chance to catch a serious illness. Who wouldn’t want that?

Back to the Banner Post

It’s been autumn so long that the temperature actually feels like autumn.

We welcome a new banner picture.

Welcome, two little girls who are getting along very well.

Did I Mention that 3 of Our 10 Pediatricians Have Recently Given Birth?

Lately, it seems most of the chatter around RCAM comes back to Sarah, Lily and Jen and their recent new additions.

We all have questions.

How are they doing?

How is there transition to having two young children going?

Are they getting any sleep?

The talk eventually goes inward. Remember the exhaustion of caring for a new baby – particularly when you already had an energetic and attention-starved toddler at home?

Finally someone asks, How did any of us ever decide to go through it all over again and have another child? [Next slide please…]

Presenting: Moments that Make Us Forget How Difficult Raising Young Children Can Be


Todd Harris, M.D.

September 21, 2018 Patients with private insurance may now call and set up an appointment for their child to get the flu shot in one of our Flu Shot Clinics.

Private-Supplied Flu Vaccine

For patients who have private insurance, we have received our shipment of private flu vaccine and are beginning to administer those shots. (Private insurance is through a health insurance company such as BCBS, United Healthcare, Cigna, etc.)

State-Supplied Flu Vaccine

For some, flu vaccine is supplied by the State of North Carolina:

  • Insured by Medicaid
  • Uninsured
  • Native Americans or Native Alaskans
  • Insured by a medical cost sharing plan

We have not received state-supplied flu vaccine, so we cannot begin vaccinating patients in these groups yet. We have no control over this and have no way to predict when we will receive it.

Check back here over the next few weeks. We will announce and start administering our state-supplied flu vaccine as soon as it arrives.

We dislike having two different flu vaccine start dates, but felt we simply have to begin with the vaccine that we have on hand.

Flu Shot Clinic

In an effort to prepare for the upcoming flu season with the goal of vaccinating as many of our patients as quickly as possible, Flu Shot Clinic is for getting flu shots only.

If you have other health concerns, call and make a regular appointment with one of our pediatricians.

We will also continue to vaccinate patients as they are seen in our office for routine visits.

Experts: Jury Still Out On FluMist

FluMist – the nasal spray flu vaccine – will unfortunately not be available again this year at RCAM.

You may be aware of reports that FluMist has returned as an option after being unavailable for 2 years due to concerns that is had become ineffective.

Infectious disease experts and the American Academy of Pediatrics are not yet convinced that the updated FluMist will be as effective as the Flu Shot. As a result, RCAM this year will only offer the shot version of the flu vaccine.

Decrease Your Chances of Catching a Bad Illness

Influenza illness – the Flu – can be very hard on the very young, the very old, and for those with certain underlying conditions like diabetes and asthma.

It can also be a very bad illness for anyone – regardless of health – so we recommend flu vaccine for just about all of our patients.

Decrease your family’s chances of catching the flu. Call RCAM 919-781-7490 to get your child’s Flu Shot.