COVID-19 Spring Update

As the pandemic drags on beyond a year, we know that many are suffering with the stresses associated with this virus, including illness and death of loved-ones, anxiety, social isolation, school disruptions, loss or threat to livelihood. The Midtown Pediatrics team wants you to know that we are here for you. 

COVID-19 vaccine

  1. Big news! Health Canada has approved the Pfizer vaccine for children 12-16 years of age.  (It was previously approved for 16 years and older) 
  2. Children under 18-years of age are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario.  At this time, the Pfizer vaccine is authorized in individuals 12-years and older. The Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines are authorized in individuals 18-years and older.  Research is currently being done to determine safety and efficacy in younger children.
  3. Eligibility for the vaccine is constantly changing but will soon be open to all adults.  Please see the City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine website for the latest on vaccine eligibility in your area. 
  4. As the supply in Canada fluctuates, vaccine appointment availability also fluctuates.  Vaccine Hunters is a group on twitter that helps people find available vaccine appointments.
  5. Pregnancy can increase the risk for severe COVID-19 infection.  Pregnant women and their caregivers are now considered a priority group for immunization.  The COVID-19 vaccine has been deemed safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding.  For more information, please see the position statement published by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.
  6. Please remember that even if you’re vaccinated, you must continue to follow all public health guidelines, including social distancing, mask-wearing, and limits on gatherings.  Also please get tested and isolate if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.

Office practice

The entire Midtown Pediatrics team continues to work hard to provide your children with the best possible care during this challenging time.  Our front desk staff, Samantha and Rita, are fielding huge numbers of emails and telephone calls every day and do their best to respond in a timely manner.  Please be patient as you await a response from them and avoid calling or emailing multiple times.  Responses to non-urgent requests can take up to 2 business days.   

We want to share a quick reminder of our current office practice.  (Please note that these can change at any time with changes in the pandemic and restrictions.)

  1. Midtown Pediatrics is still open.
  2. We are continuing to offer virtual appointments for most check-ups and sick visits.  If, after a virtual appointment, your doctor feels your child needs to be seen in person, this will be arranged.
  3. For virtual appointments, you will either receive a call from your doctor (please make sure we have the best phone number to reach you and allow your phone to accept calls from “unknown number” or “private caller”) or you will receive a link by email for a Telus Health Virtual Visit video call appointment. (Please confirm that we have the best email address to send this link.  Also check your junk mail if you do not receive the email.) 
  4. When booking an appointment, the front desk staff will ask for a brief description of the reason for booking so that they can determine what type of appointment to book and how much time to schedule.
  5. Many children who are ill will be booked for same day appointments, most often virtually.  Please understand that not all appointments can be booked as same day appointments.  Non-urgent matters may be scheduled at a later date when a physician’s schedule is fully booked for that day.  Virtual appointments take time and our doctors may not always have openings in their schedule.
  6. Newborns and infants requiring vaccinations continue to be seen in person.
  7. All patients and their families are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and contacts before entering the clinic.
  8. Only one caregiver is permitted to attend appointments. 
  9. All caregivers and children 2-years and over are required to wear masks throughout their time in the clinic. Masks with vents are not permitted as they are not effective.
  10. Please be on time for your appointment, whether virtual or in person.  If you cannot attend your appointment, please cancel it, even if it is virtual.  There is a charge for missed appointments.

Office email

Please be reminded that our office email address is used for administrative purposes only.  Please do not send long emails about your child’s medical concerns.  The physicians do not have access to these emails and cannot provide any care over email.  In addition, information provided by email is not secure.

COVID-19 in Children

CBC news recently posted an article on COVID-19 in children.  This might be of interest.

New virtual option for urgent after hours care from the Sick Kids Emergency Department

The SickKids virtual urgent care program offers a new way to get medical advice or care remotely using technology, such as a computer or smartphone. Answer some short questions about you or your child using the symptom checker and you will be connected to the most appropriate care setting based on the information provided. This may include a virtual urgent care visit with a member of the SickKids Emergency Department clinical team, a recommendation to visit a primary care provider in your community along with educational information to assist you, or you may be directed to your local emergency department. The secure platform is available on any smartphone, tablet or computer with internet.

Mental health support

This pandemic has taken a toll on parents and children in so many ways.  We have put together a list of resources that you will hopefully find helpful.  

As we all make our way through these enormously stressful times, please do your best to stay safe and try to find some joy in the arrival of spring and the optimism that we will get through this together!