Amid the ongoing concerns about COVID-19, we want to reassure you that the health of you, your family and our community remain our top priority. NTPHP clinics remain open to continue to provide preventive and ongoing care and be an active resource for any questions you have related to the ever changing situation.
Our goal is to continue to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information. The physicians of NTPHP urge our patients to rely on trusted, peer reviewed, science-based information rather than personal opinions or anecdotal observations. As with any new disease, recommendations evolve as science helps us understand this new illness. There are many ongoing clinical trials to help answer some questions we have about therapeutic and vaccine options, and we will provide more information below on those items. Again, we realize that quarantine fatigue is real, but we are asking you to do your best to prevent the disease by practicing physical distancing, mask wearing, and handwashing.
As you may have seen in the news, the FDA amended the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of a third dose. The FDA press release outlined that this additional dose, at this time, is only for those patients that meet the criteria outlined below.
Immunocompromised individuals, specifically solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equal level of immunocompromise.
Pfizer: Individuals 12 and older that meet the criteria above.
Moderna: Individuals 18 and older that meet the criteria above.
If you just recently received your second dose of the vaccine, then you must wait 28 days following the second dose before receiving the third dose. Additionally, there should be no cross over between vaccines. This means that if you received one or two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, then you must complete your regimen with Pfizer.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is set to meet today and will likely issue a statement with specific recommendations. They may also provide additional detail on the specific patients who qualify. At this time, individuals who have received the full two-dose regimen of the vaccine, and do not meet the criteria above, are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of the vaccine.
All current NTPHP patients that received the Moderna vaccine in our office are maintained on our practice vaccine list. Therefore, it is not necessary to contact your physician to be placed on the NTPHP COVID vaccine list. All physicians are assessing their patient listings to categorize based on the criteria outlined by the FDA and will reach out to schedule your third dose. Please let us know if you receive the vaccine elsewhere so we can update your vaccine status on our list.
In the middle of a pandemic, any mask will help slow the spread of COVID-19. Many mask options exist and process of selecting one can be overwhelming. Below is the CDC guidance on key things to remember when selecting, wearing, and cleaning your mask.
Selecting your mask:
Do choose masks that:
Do NOT choose masks that:
Wearing your mask:
Cleaning your mask:
“How to Select, Wear, and Clean Your Mask.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.
The downtown campus of Baylor Scott and White Hospital is a site for the ongoing Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA COVID vaccine trial. As frontline workers, many of our physicians and staff had the opportunity to volunteer as participants in this vaccine trial. Volunteers received two shots 3 weeks apart and were randomized to either the placebo arm or vaccine arm. Volunteers will be followed for a 2-year period to confirm safety, antibody levels and monitor for COVID-19 illness. The spectrum of side effects in the NTPHP participants included no reaction, mild arm achiness for 1-3 days, mild arm swelling at the injection site, headache, achiness, chills, and fever. We are excited to be a part of this important science that will hopefully help our patients, colleagues, and community benefit from a future FDA approved vaccine.
As previously stated, NTPHP is committed to ensuring you have access to the most up-to-date, accurate, and timely testing options. As appropriate tests become available, we will continue to expand our testing capabilities. Please see below for a listing of all current COVID-19 related in-house tests. The COVID-19 PCR test is offered Monday through Friday at all our locations. The antibody blood test is offered in clinic for those who have recovered or think they have had COVID-19. Please contact your provider for specific times, if a test is needed.
BioFire Respiratory Pathogen Panel
NTPHP has invested in additional testing capabilities to ensure that our patients have access to testing that they need. Our company has implemented the use of the BioFire Respiratory panel. This test is a nasopharyngeal swab and can detect up to 18 different viral respiratory pathogens and 4 bacterial pathogens, which we have listed below. Our company has adopted 4 machines which allows us to run up to 40 tests per day. The current turnaround time on results for this test are same day to next day, depending on daily company volume. Additionally, the overall sensitivity for this test is 97.1% and the specificity of the test is 99.3% making this an extremely reliable test.
ID Now Rapid PCR COVID-19 testing:
The ID Now COVID-19 test is a rapid, molecular, point of care test that detects COVID-19. This test is run in the clinic on our ID Now platforms, which are the same platforms we have always used to run our strep and flu test and comes back the same day. Additionally, this test is performed by collecting a specimen through a nasopharyngeal swab, nasal swab, or throat swab. The specimen collection technique will be determined by your provider.
IgG Antibody Testing -- NTPHP offers in-house IgG antibody testing. These antibodies are released into the blood stream later in the immune response and are considered memory immunoglobulins that may help defend your body against future viruses. These antibodies typically appear after 7 to 14 days of infection. The protective effect of antibodies associated with COVID-19 are still unknown. There are still many studies in process that are tracking how long the COVID-19 antibodies remain in one’s system and how protective they are.
IgM -- These are immunoglobulins that include the primary antibodies that are released into the bloodstream early in the immune response. These immunoglobulins typically show up 3 to 7 days after exposure to the virus but eventually disappear.
In addition to the testing above, we now have the capability to run a combined Influenza and COVID-19 rapid antigen test in the office for patients suspected of having influenza A, B or COVID.
We know this is a difficult time for everyone. As always, our team is here for you, and if you need any assistance at all, please do not hesitate to call our office.