WE DO NOT HAVE COVID VACCINES IN OUR OFFICE
Within the next month, messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are likely to be some of the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States.
mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the muscle cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.
Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is those vaccinated gain this protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.
They cannot give someone COVID-19.
They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.
mRNA vaccines are being held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as all other types of vaccines in the United States. The only COVID-19 vaccines the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will make available for use in the United States (by approval or emergency use authorization) are those that meet these standards.
There are currently no licensed mRNA vaccines in the United States. However, researchers have been studying and working with them for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.
mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 was available, scientists began designing the mRNA instructions for cells to build the unique spike protein into an mRNA vaccine.
Future mRNA vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to provide protection for multiple diseases, thus decreasing the number of shots needed for protection against common vaccine-preventable diseases.
Beyond vaccines, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells.
1.Keeping patients as safe as possible is our first priority. This means that appointments will remain virtual/phone unless a physical exam is required. All Appointments are pre screened before an in person appointment is made, Please do not show up at the office without an appointment for the safety of staff and other patients.
2. If you are coming to the office, please wear a mask (homemade masks are fine), no gloves and alone if possible. Knock or wave to us and we will let you in when it is safe to do so. All live appointments are spaced to try and avoid patient contact with others.
3.Please use the hand sanitizer at the entrance on arrival, do not wear gloves and touch as few things as possible.
4. The staff is behind plexiglass as much as possible. Please maintain 6 feet of social distancing from the staff and other patients.
5. Rooms are cleaned after each patient and the office is cleaned in addition twice daily.
6.If you have COVID symptoms, please let us know and we will plan to see you at the end of the day for the safety of others or will direction you to a COVID testing site where you can be seen.
June 25, 2020
Dear Patients, September 11, 2020
As you are likely aware, British Columbia is relaxing restrictions and doctors are accordingly beginning to slowly open their offices up again - however, the office visit will be quite different than it was before the arrival of COVID-19.
British Columbians followed the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry, when she asked us all to practice physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying at home as much as possible, which has made re-opening possible COVID-19 has not gone away, however the risk of any of us catching the disease and overwhelming our healthcare system has reduced.
It is very important that we adhere to the following steps cautiously and safely, so that we don’t increase our risk and revert back to our earlier restrictions. It is important that you continue to follow the measures that Dr. Henry advises as this is the only way we will prevent COVID-19 cases from rising again.
Over the coming weeks and months, this office will slowly increase the amount of in-person healthcare, and resume some of the more routine healthcare services that were safely suspended at the start of the pandemic. But we can only continue to move forward like this as long as the risk of infection from COVID-19 remains low.Initially, we will continue to see patients virtually, via video, or on the telephone in cases where that is prudent. In-person care will take place when deemed necessary, such as for urgent conditions, conditions needing a physical examination, necessary examinations for chronic diseases, or some screenings, for example.
The reasons we cannot not see everyone in-person are:
We want to reassure you that safe care will continue to occur, and that you will be seen in-person if it is clinically necessary. Over time, and presuming our risk remains low, we anticipate seeing more of you in the office. Please remember our office is open and providing care (either in office or virtually) – whatever your health care concern is. However, please phone our office or book an appointment on line, together we can determine whether it is safe for you to come to the office and be seen in person –please do not simply show up.
We look forward to seeing more of you in the office in the future.
Drs. Penner, Roeck, Moric and Robinson
Aug 21, 2020
Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidelines
Guidelines for COVID-19 testing in BC are periodically reviewed and updated based on COVID- 19 epidemiology, seasonality, public health measures in place, testing capacity, and our evolving understanding of test performance in clinical settings. As a result, BC guidelines may differ from other national or provincial guidelines.
At this time in BC, there has been an increase in the number of cases of COVID -19. There is also capacity to expand testing beyond current levels. Accordingly, at this time we have a low threshold for testing symptomatic individuals for COVID-19 infection. Please note there is a new drive through testing center in the parking lot of Centennial theater, 23rd and Lonsdale, open from 9 am to 7 pm daily.
1. Please be tested if you have new symptoms compatible with COVID-19, however mild. The symptoms most commonly found with COVID-19 infection include:
Less common symptoms of COVID-19 infection include stuffy nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye), dizziness, confusion, abdominal pain, and skin rashes or discoloration of fingers or toes.
COVID-19 testing can be done by a healthcare provider or at a local collection centre.
Click on the links below for a list of collection centres in the province to find one near you. You can also call 8-1-1 to find the nearest centre or for directions in another language.
Collection centre finder (Mobile and desktop)
Collection centre finder for Internet Explorer users
If you are unwell with any of the above symptoms, self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days, so you do not potentially spread the disease to others.
You may return to your regular activities when:
At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started; AND
Your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g. Tylenol, Advil), AND
You are feeling better (e.g. improvement in runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue).Stay home and do not go to work, school or public places and do not use public transit, taxis or ride shares. Do not have visitors to your home. If you live with other people, avoid contact with others at home by staying and sleeping in a separate room and using a separate bathroom if possible. See these guides about isolation:
Isolation if you are ill
Cover your coughs and sneezes. When you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Don't have a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Wash your hands right away after you sneeze, cough or touch used tissues or masks. Throw used tissues into a lined trash can in your room and tie up that trash bag before adding it with other household waste.
Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is best to dry your hands with a paper towel and throw it away after use. If you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Learn more.
Do not share household items. Do not share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other shared belongings. After using these items, wash them with soap and water.
Flush the toilet with the lid down. COVID-19 virus may also be present in poop (stool or feces). Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
General cleaning. Water and detergent (e.g., liquid dishwashing soap) or common household cleaning wipes should be used. Apply firm pressure while cleaning. Surfaces should be cleaned at least once a day. Next, use a store bought disinfectant or diluted bleach solution, one part bleach to 50 parts water (20ml of bleach to 1 litre of water), and allow the surface to remain wet for one minute. Clean surfaces that are touched often (e.g., counters, table tops, doorknobs, toilets, sinks, taps, etc.) at least twice a day.
Wear a face mask. When you are sick, wearing a face mask (surgical or procedure mask) helps to stop the spread of germs from you to others. Wear a face mask when you are in the same room with other people and when you get medical care. If your mask gets wet or dirty, change it and wash your hands right away. You and those you live with do not need to buy and wear other types of masks, such as an N-95 respirator mask.
Note that sometimes people with mild symptoms at the start of their COVID illness may suddenly worsen and require urgent medical care. Pay attention to how you are feeling. If it becomes harder to breathe, you can’t drink anything or feel much worse, seek urgent medical care at an urgent care clinic or emergency department.
If you are a health care worker, follow the advice of your employer. If you need more information, go to this BCCDC site for healthcare workers.
BC Centre for Disease Control release daily Surveillance Reports with up to date statistics on Covid-19 in British Columbia. Please see the table here for a detailed report from June 11th.
Visit http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data for more information.
HERE ARE STEPS WE CAN ALL TAKE TO PUSH BACK AGAINST COVID-19:
Let’s slow down the spread of this virus and get through this together.
1. TURN TO TELEMEDICINE
Family doctors can provide safe care that may not need an office visit. We are encouraging our patients to call by phone or see us virtually. That way, we can keep you and other patients safe and keep our staff healthy. If we have concerns, we’ll make sure you get the care you need.
2. EMBRACE YOUR HOME BASE
Family doctors want to do everything possible to support our patients—one key way we’ll do that is by telling those with mild symptoms to stay home. Most people will get better on their own.
3. REMAIN CLOSE...AT A DISTANCE
All of us need to avoid gatherings or large groups in order to slow down the spread of this virus. Social distancing can be difficult and unsettling—so let’s make use of phone, email or video calls to connect with friends and loved ones in virtual ways. There’s no need to panic but there is a need to be smart about our social interaction right now and follow the advice of public health.
4. DON’T FRET IF NO TEST
Not everyone needs a swab to test for COVID-19. You can do an online assessment tool to determine if you may have symptoms of COVID-19 online at covid19.thrive.health. You can call 8-1-1 to discuss your symptoms and plan for action with a nurse, and many family doctors can discuss with you by phone or virtually.
5. USE SOAP AND SLEEVES
Proper hand washing; using a tissue or your upper sleeve to sneeze; and keeping your hands away from your face are still the best lines of defence against infection.
6. STAY INFORMED
The province has created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages from 7:30 am – 8:00 pm daily at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 1-888-268-4319.
Adapted from the Ontario College of Family Physicians.
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT BCCFP.BC.CA/COVID-19