LATEST INFORMATION ON
We're here to help you navigate the medical and emotional challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic. Explore the topics below to take the first steps, and contact your provider for one-on-one support through our patient portal or at an appointment.
Visiting Our Offices:
Protocols as of September 1, 2020
In-office well visits and consultations: We're currently seeing patients here in the office for well visits, physicals, follow-ups, consults, and more, for patients who are not displaying any sick symptoms. We have employee temperature checks three times per day. Signs on our front doors will provide instructions for your visit upon arrival, including in-car waiting to limit patient interaction in common areas. We clean our exam rooms after each patient, and we also clean all assistant stations, bathrooms and waiting rooms/front desk area approximately every hour in both buildings. We also offer several services in our outdoor tent by appointment, including flu shots and select blood draws.
Telemedicine appointments: Patients also have an option for an at-home video-conference with a provider, for both sick and well needs. See christinemeyermd.com/telemedicine for details, and call us to convert your in-person appointment to a telemedicine one.
We're also answering phones, emails and portal messages, so you can reach out to us that way, too.
Do you need help with basic necessities during the COVID-19 crisis?
Our team can pick up your prescriptions and groceries for no cost. We also have established a modest internal budget so that as long as we are able, we will cover the first $50 of any such items.
If you need help with your groceries or meds, please email or call (610) 363-0100 x305.
We have received dozens of offers from patients willing to donate money to this effort. We absolutely cannot directly accept monetary donations, but if you are able, please check in on your neighbors who might not have access or means.
COVID Topics & Updates
COVID-19 and Vitamin D
MMR Booster Series Immunizations
What does this data mean for us? Well first, MMR immunity does NOT protect you from getting CoVID-19 (read that aloud if you need to) – it changes nothing about the urgent need to social distance, mask, hand-wash, and quarantine. But beyond that, understanding what MMR immunity CAN do for you requires some background. And some action.
New and emerging research suggests that MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) immune status appears to correlate with a patient's ability to recover from CoVID-19. Higher MMR vaccine use has reduced some countries' rates of death (but not rate of infection).
MMR immunity does not mean immunity to CoVID-19 and does not reduce your ability to contract or spread CoVID-19. Those with MMR immunity (such as a recent MMR booster shot) should not change precautions and must continue vigilant social distancing, masking, and hand-washing.
Call our office at 610-363-0100 to request a blood test to check MMR status, or to request an MMR booster series. Both can be done in our outdoor tent (no need to come inside). Some patients are not eligible due to contraindications.* Insurance coverage will vary; we'll help you determine out-of-pocket expenses.
Scientists have now compared death rates from CoVID-19 in countries that had robust booster programs for MMR, against countries that had not. It turns out that some of the countries with the LOWEST death rates had the highest MMR booster rates, and vice versa. For example, Madagascar, a country of 26 million people, vaccinated 26% of its population against MMR in 2019 and already had a high rate of immunity to MMR. They have had ZERO deaths. Hong Kong did the same in 1997 for all 19 year-olds, and continued an aggressive schedule of immunization into 2020. Despite being 500 miles from Wuhan, the epicenter of CoVID-19, they have had just FOUR deaths.
On the other end of the spectrum, Belgium, with a population 54% higher than Hong Kong’s had nearly 8,000 deaths. They had not begun giving two doses of the combined vaccine until 1995. Italy, the European country with one of the lowest rates of MRCV (measles/rubella combined vaccine) has, as we all know, one of the highest death rates.
Lastly, consider the USS Roosevelt. Of the 1,102 on board that tested positive for CoVID-19, only 7 had been hospitalized with ONE death. The US military gives all new recruits MMR regardless of immunization history.
Twelve days after this paper was submitted, Cambridge University scientists released data that pointed to similarities between SARS-CoV2 and Rubella, suggesting the reasoning for the above findings.
Keep in mind that more research is being done as we speak, but these are excellent and reliable sources. There are always confounding variables and questions to work through but here is the kicker: in this particular case, we can take a relatively harmless action that may have a tremendous benefit. As individuals, we can update our MMR status, and we can do it now.
First, this is a good opportunity to remind everyone what the current CDC recommendations are for MMR boosters. Let's review:
Individuals born before 1957 most likely have natural immunity to MMR. Similarly, those who know for certain they had measles, mumps or rubella disease have natural immunity.
Women who have given birth and had evidence of immunity during their prenatal testing or a booster immediately after delivery, are up to date.
Anyone who does not fall into the above — ie, all men born after 1957, and women who have not had titers confirmed in routine prenatal testing (ie never been pregnant) — need evidence of immunity to MMR.
Evidence of MMR immunity can be in the form of documentation in your medical records of two doses of MMR, or serologic evidence (blood test).
I am encouraging all patients to have a discussion with your provider and take one, or both, of two potentially beneficial steps:
2) If you are not MMR immune, and do not have any of the contraindications* listed, I would get an MMR booster series. This can also be done in our outdoor tent – no stepping foot inside the office. Many people will get MMR boosters during their lifetime. If you were going to do it at some point, this is the time. This is the moment.
*Patients who are pregnant or unsure of pregnancy status, those with blood disorders, and the immunosuppressed, would not be candidates for the MMR booster, but we can still check your MMR immune status. Call us to discuss your situation individually.
Now, what about the fact that this is all new, and only correlated data? Well, the MMR vaccine has been protecting patients since 1971. There is an extremely low risk of harm, a benefit even absent the CoVID connection, and the worst-case out-of-pocket cost is hovering around $90 per dose, which most people would have spent on this at some point anyway to update their vaccines before travel or other occasions. This is one of those true, rare, "why-not" moments in the medical field. And I'm so glad research has revealed its potential to help this crisis.
Finally, there are a few last things I need you to hear again:
1) MMR immunity has NOTHING to do with immunity to Coronavirus. It does not make you less likely to get CoVID, it is not an antibody for CoVID, and it does not make you less contagious if you have CoVID. MMR immunity just may afford some protection against the most serious consequences of COVID-19.
2) This layer of protection does nothing to help your neighbor. You are just as able to spread Coronavirus to others, and no actions should change when it comes to social distancing, masking, hand-washing, or quarantining at home. The biggest risk of celebrating personal CoVID victories—antibodies, MMR immunity, or anything else—is that we will ease-up on precautions and expose those who are still just as vulnerable.
3) Patients with ANY signs of sickness must stay home. No exceptions.
Antibody Testing Consultations
We need to know who has antibodies to SARS-CoV 2 so that we can understand what level and duration of immunity these antibodies provide. If immunity is conferred, we can choose our first-line workers with this in mind.
We need antibody testing to help in vaccine work.
We need to work on using plasma donations as treatments for critically ill COVID-19 patients.
We need to know how many of us have antibodies to help determine the potential level of herd immunity in the community at present.
Call our office at (610) 363-0100. Call once; leave a message (one message) if you get our answering machine. Repeat calls will only increase volume, and will not speed up our reply.
Set up a visit (televisit or in-office) with one of our providers. We will discuss your request and the implications of the results, positive or negative. (If you are in the office, we can draw your blood right then.)
Results will take at least 2 to 3 days. We will notify positives immediately, If you don't hear right away (within three days), you can assume you are negative, though we will still let you know as soon as we are able.
people who had or think they had COVID-19 AT LEAST 2 weeks ago.
people who may be asymptomatic carriers.