COVID vaccine update

. Posted in Coronavirus

Dear Patient,

Last week’s approval of the first COVID vaccine offers a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. While Pfizer’s vaccine became the first to earn FDA approval, Moderna’s version could follow in the coming days. Several others are wrapping up trials and could be available by spring.

When will you receive your vaccine?
Supplies of the Pfizer vaccine are very limited. Approval of the Moderna vaccine will offer some relief, but most Mainers will likely receive one of the vaccines currently in trial, probably in late spring or early summer.

As the FDA approves additional vaccines and the rollout begins, the CDC is fine-tuning distribution guidelines. InterMed’s vaccination plans are in place, and once we receive a shipment, we’ll be ready to administer them to our patients, following the CDC directive.

We’ll provide updates as we learn more.

Rapid testing for symptomatic patients
InterMed now offers the Abbott ID NOW rapid test for patients with COVID symptoms.

The test, which delivers results in 15 minutes, provides a complement to our inhouse Panther processor — the gold standard for COVID testing (we also send tests to Quest Diagnostics), and is very effective in rapidly determining a symptomatic patient’s COVID-19 status. The Maine branch of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced that a negative Abbott ID NOW test is acceptable for return to school and day care clearance.

  • InterMed requires that patients schedule a telehealth appointment with a provider prior to any COVID test. The provider will discuss the benefits and limitations of testing. For example, a negative test on Monday does not mean you are COVID-free on Wednesday.
  • We are not currently offering rapid testing to those without symptoms.

We’re in this together
COVID cases in our state and country continue to rapidly climb. Until we’re able to vaccinate most of our population, we must work together to stop the spread of COVID:

  • Please wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth whenever you leave home. Masks are required of anyone entering an InterMed building.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Practice social distancing, even when wearing a mask.
  • If you have an appointment at InterMed, please come alone if possible.
  • Please do not come to our office without an appointment. We’re working hard to limit the number of people in the office at a time.

Holiday Travel
As the holidays draw near, staying home remains the most effective way to protect yourself and your family. Do not travel if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have been around anyone who has had symptoms or a known diagnosis.

As we turn the calendar to 2021, there is much to be optimistic about. While we await the vaccine, please remember that we can largely control our destiny by following the simple steps outlined above. Together, we can stop the COVID spike that’s plaguing our state.

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy holiday season and a healthy New Year.

Dan Loiselle, MD, Chief Medical Officer, and the entire healthcare team at InterMed