September 1, 2021
As you are likely hearing on the news and through your social media networks, COVID-19 (and the delta-variant in particular) is back on the rise. This uptick in infections was predictable, but more concerning in light of the much increased transmissibility of the delta variant. It is estimated that each infected person can spread the virus to 5 unvaccinated individuals. It is also becoming apparent that this variant seems much more capable of infecting, and making ill, younger indivudals and children. All of this points to the undeniable importance of getting vaccinated.
The science is clear and irrefutable:
- The vaccines work, and are extemely safe
- Masks can protect against spreading and getting the virus
- The large number of still unvaccinated individuals is the reason this pandemic is still uncontrolled
Please do your part and get vaccinated!
We must continue to:
Wear a mask
The current MA COVID-19 guidelines state that fully vaccinated indiviudals should wear masks when indoors (unless they are at home) if they (or someone in their houselhold) has a weakened immune systems, are at increased risk for severe disease due to age or underlyng medical condition, or are an unvaccinated adult. Mask-wearing is also still necessary for those not fully vaccinated. Even if you are vaccinated, wearing a mask adds additional safety, and many feel more comfortable continuing to wear them for now. There is currently an indoor mask mandate in effect in Amherst and other neighboring towns. Masks continue to be required for the following individuals or locations, regardless of vaccination status:
- On public and private transportation
- Inside K-12 public schools, collaboratives, special education schools
- Healthcare facilites (like Amherst Pediatrics!)
- Congregate care facilities
- Emergency shelter facilities
- Correctional facilities
- Health care and day services/facilites run by the Commonweath
- Home health care workers
Please click here to read more about mask and COVID-19 precautions ► COVID-19 Mask Requirements
We urge you to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. This remains the single most critical element for ending the pandemic. It can only be achieved if the vast majority of us gets the vaccine. We know that many people have reservations about the vaccines, because they are perceived to have been developed and rolled out so fast. In fact, safety has not been sacrificed during this process. The historic speed with which the vaccines have beeen readied is due to the unprecedented efforts of scientists and the huge amount of resources poured into the effort. It is a process that will likely be replicated in the future, and in which we can all be proud. The vaccine is extremely effective and SAFE!
Please read this piece written for The Atlantic by pediatrician, author, and journalist Perri Klass for an excellent perspective on the importance of having your child vaccianted:
Amherst Pediatrics is not currently administering COVID-19 vaccine to children of any age.
We will make sure to let you know if this changes. In the meantime, COVID-19 vaccine is readily available in the community. Please see below for information about scheduleing an appointment.
There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in people 18 years of age and older. One vaccine (the one made by Pfizer) has received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA and is now recommended by the CDC for use in people age 12 and older. Trials are underway in younger children, but as of yet there is no information regarding the timeline for availability of a COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 12.
Massachusetts is currently in Phase 4 of the vaccine rollout. People age 12 and older who live, work, or study in Massachusetts can now get vaccinated against COVID-19. People ages 12-17 can only recieve the Pfizer vaccine. People age 18 and older can receive any COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is safe and effective. You don't need an ID or insurance to get it.
People who live, work, or study in Massachusetts can pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at one of several mass vaccination locations around the state, including many locally. To pre-register for a vaccine appointment, use the link below.
Asymptomatic testing remains available at UMass for anyone 4 years of age and older. For information and scheduling follow this link:
Symptomatic testing is available offsite or, in some cases, in our office at Amherst Pediatrics. COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Fever and/or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle/body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (in addition to at least one other symptom)
- Nausea or vomiting
Our capacity to test patients at Amherst Pediatrics is very limited, and will be determined by our clincal team. If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, please call us at (413) 253-3773 and speak to a member of our clincial team for guidance.