Willows Pediatrics Blog - We Know Kids
We Know Kids
The Willows Pediatrics Blog

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Updates on Fall 2023 Seasonal Vaccines: RSV, Flu, and COVID!

As we approach another winter respiratory season, we wanted to update everyone on all the seasonal vaccine options.


As usual, there is the annual influenza vaccine, no big changes here. We still recommend everyone get it anytime now. Flu activity in our area usually peaks around November as you can see on the CT Department of Public Health graph below. So “Flu before boo”  as we like to say, in other words: get your flu shot before Halloween.

One small change, if your child has an egg allergy, they can now get the flu vaccine in one of our clinics. They no longer need an appointment. This is based on the CDC reviewing the frequency of allergic reactions to flu vaccine and finding that they occur in approximately 1.3 per 1 million flu vaccines given. Very, very rare!

All kids need one annual flu shot. However, if your child is less than 9 years old and has not had 2 prior flu vaccines in their lifetime, then they need a booster of this year’s flu vaccine. The booster dose is the same as the initial dose, just 28 days later. This has always been the case, nothing new here, just a reminder.


CT DPH Flu Cases Graph

CT Department of Public Health Flu Cases



There is an updated booster coming out this fall that targets one of the Omicron variants. It hasn’t been determined yet which ages this will be recommended for. It has not been released yet but we are expecting it in the fall. We know that COVID boosters protect against severe disease and hospitalization. Willows does not have the manpower, really woman-power, to give this vaccine. But you can schedule an appointment online with Walgreens and Rite Aid for ages 3 and up.



We will only discuss RSV protection for pregnant people and babies in this blog post. There is also a vaccine for ages 60 and up but we will leave that to the adult doctors.

So for pregnant people, there is a vaccine that will be offered between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. The goal of this vaccine is to pass protection to baby for the first 6 months of his/her life. Unfortunately, this vaccine has not completed all of the reviews and approvals needed so it is not yet available at this time, possibly later this fall. Please discuss this with your OB-GYN at your next visit.

There is also an option for babies under 8 months during RSV season called Beyfortus. This is not a vaccine. Vaccines cause the body’s immune system to create defenses against infection. Instead, this is a dose of antibodies that is given to the immune system to provide protection for the rest of the RSV season. This vaccine will be given as a one time dose to newborns and babies less than 8 months old during the RSV season. The protection is expected to last 4-6 months. In a randomized controlled trial, the likelihood of RSV requiring medical attention decreased 70% and hospitalization from RSV decreased 78%.

Willows will be offering the RSV monoclonal antibody for newborns and infants. However, at this time it is not covered by any private insurance companies. As soon as we hear more, we will let you know.

The RSV antibody is also recommended for high-risk children 8-19 months old during their second RSV season if they have chronic lung disease or are immunocompromised. Additionally, a second dose was recommended for Native American and Alaskan Native children, as they have much higher RSV hospitalization rates.

Please see the helpful graphic below from Katelyn Jetelina, MPH, PhD an epidemiologist who writes “Your Local Epidemiologist”.

YLE chart summarizing Fall 2023 vaccines

Summary Table of Fall 2023 Seasonal Vaccines


Willows Celebrates 50 Years!

We are pleased to be in our 50th year of caring for the children of this community! Please gather with us to mark this important milestone. We will have an ice cream truck, face painting, balloon twisting and games.
Fun for all ages! Open to our current patients and their families.

Flu Vaccine Clinics Fall 2023





Please call the office during our regular business hours to schedule an appointment.


You must be a patient of Willows Pediatric Group who has been seen in the office

and will need to show a valid insurance card at the time of your appointment


Before your appointment, please print and fill out the 2023 Injectable Flu Administration Sheet. 

If someone other than a parent/guardian is accompanying your child for the flu vaccine,

we require a signed note with parental permission to give the vaccine.

Fall 2023 Flu Clinics:

Tuesday 9/12: 1-4 pm

Thursday 9/21: 1-4 pm

Monday 9/25: 10 am – 1 pm & 2pm – 5 pm

Thursday 9/28: 1-5 pm 

Wednesday 10/4: 1-5 PM 

Friday 10/6: 1-4 PM 

Thursday 10/12: 1-5 PM 

Thursday 10/19: 5-7 PM

Tuesday 10/24: 5-7 PM 

Thursday 10/26: 1-4 PM 


Please check our website for any last-minute updates at www.willowspediatrics.com


*Please note that all dates above are subject to vaccine availability

Dr. Woodward Announces Retirement And We Welcome Dr. Zachary Steinman

A letter from Dr. Woodward:

To Our Families,

We want to share this message from Dr. Janet Woodward as she embarks on her next steps, and
let you know what the future holds for Willows Pediatrics:

When I started as a new pediatrician joining Willows Pediatrics, I was happy for the opportunity
to take care of infants, children, and adolescents in a vibrant small town not far from where I
grew up. I will be forever grateful for being welcomed into the local medical community served
by Norwalk Hospital and for being welcomed by families in Westport and surrounding towns. I
am also grateful for the original Willows partners, who set an amazing example of dedication to
the practice, to always learning, and to providing the most up to date medical care possible.

Now 38 years later it is time for me to move on and for Willows to bring on a new enthusiastic
and wonderful pediatrician. Thank you for the opportunity to help take care of what is most
important in our lives, our children, and to feel part of so many of our amazing families.
Through ups and downs, sharing joy and heartbreak, what I have learned from you will always
stay with me. My last official day at Willows will be September 15, 2022.

At the same time, we are very excited to welcome a new physician starting July 18, 2022.
Zachary Steinman grew up in Westport and attended our local schools. He graduated Phi Beta
Kappa from Wesleyan University and with distinction in Medical Humanities from the Frank H.
Netter, MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Zachary is completing his pediatric
residency at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where he is widely recognized for his
clinical skills, compassion, and leadership. Dr. Steinman will be a tremendous addition to
Willows, and he will be living nearby with his wife, two children, and family dogs.

If you have any questions about which Willows provider is right for you and your children,
please do not hesitate to call. I look forward to seeing you in the community and wish everyone
good health and much happiness!


Janet C. Woodward, MD

Updated: COVID-19 Vaccine for Under 5 Year Olds

We are thrilled to see that there is finally an option for children 6 months to 5 years to get vaccinated for COVID-19! On Saturday June 18, the CDC and FDA completed their review process and approved 2 vaccines for this age group.

Child getting a vaccine

How do the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer differ?

The Moderna vaccine is two doses four weeks apart. The Pfizer vaccine is three doses, dose one and two are separated by three weeks and dose two to three need to be eight weeks apart. Both were found to be effective. The clinical trials showed that both vaccines produce adequate antibody responses in children in this age group. Moderna reported approximately 40% efficacy in this age group for preventing symptomatic COVID disease. Pfizer reported 80% efficacy after three doses. Please note that the efficacy for two doses of Pfizer was not good, it is important to get your child the third dose. Also, importantly, Moderna is currently testing an omicron-specific booster for the third dose in this age group, which would be great!

What side effects should I expect from these vaccines?

For both vaccines, the most common side effects for 6 month – 2 year olds were drowsiness and irritability. For 2 year – 4 year olds the most common side effects were pain at the injection site and fatigue. There were no serious side effects reported. There were no cases of myocarditis reported.

My child recently had COVID, when should he or she get the vaccine?

It is absolutely safe for your child to get the COVID vaccine as soon as they finish their isolation period. However, we rarely see repeat infections within a few months of infection so we do know that a recent COVID infection provides pretty good protection for a few months.

Where can we read more about this?

American Academy of Pediatrics: FAQs for Families

Your local epidemiologist: FDA meeting for <5 COVID vaccine: Q&A

Yale: What parents need to know

Where can we get our child vaccinated?

Willows will have limited availability of COVID vaccine clinics for this age group. We cannot rapidly vaccinate all of our patients, we’d love to but we don’t have the staff or space to do that while continuing to do all the summer check ups and sick visits. We encourage you to get your child the vaccine wherever is first available.

UPDATE: We will be offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for 6 month to under 5 year olds at Willows on the afternoon of Tuesday July 26. There will be a corresponding second dose clinic to be announced at a later date. We will open booking on Monday July 11 at 11 am. To make an appointment, please call our office.

Here are some other local sites offering it:

Griffin Hospital is giving vaccines to children 6 months+ in Shelton: Griffin Health COVID Vaccine

CVS is giving vaccines to children 18 months and over: CVS COVID Vaccine

Walgreens is giving vaccines to children 3 years and over: Walgreens COVID Vaccine

Rite Aid is giving COVID vaccines to children 3 years and over: Rite Aid COVID Vaccine

Yale is offering COVID vaccine clinics: Check here

Stamford Hospital is offering the COVID vaccine for all ages: Schedule here



Formula Shortage

The nationwide baby formula shortage is not getting any better. Willows Pediatrics hosted a visit from Congressman Jim Himes and News Channel 12 today to discuss this important issue. If you’d like to see News 12 coverage of this event, please click here.

News 12 coverage of baby formula shortage

News 12 coverage of baby formula shortage

A few important points based on questions we often get asked:

Can I switch formula brands?

Yes, if you have a healthy baby on a regular infant formula, then you can use any name or store brand infant formula. All infant formulas sold in the US are FDA approved to have the proper nutrition for normal growth and development. Here is a helpful list of equivalent formulas from North American Society For Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition. This will give you more options when you go to the store.

The exceptions to this are:

– If your baby has a milk protein allergy, then you need to continue to use a hydrolyzed or extensively hydrolyzed formula. Please talk to your pediatrician if you aren’t sure which formula to use.

-If your baby is premature or has complex medical needs, please talk to your pediatrician before changing formulas.

Can I dilute formula?

Absolutely, not! This is not safe. Babies are fragile. They require a delicate balance of water, electrolytes, fat and protein. If you alter this, they can develop seizures.

Can I make my own baby formula?

Please do NOT do this. Baby kidneys are only capable of handling certain concentrations of fluid and electrolytes, making your own formula can harm your baby. Additionally, doing this carries serious risk of contamination, which could cause your baby to get sick.

If you are looking to read more on this, please reference this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions about your baby!

Congressman Himes discussing formula shortage

Congressman Himes discusses baby formula shortage at Willows Pediatrics


CT Magazine Top Doctors

We are excited to announce that ALL 6 of our pediatricians have been named to Connecticut Magazine’s annual “Top Doctors List” for 2022!

This is an annual list compiled based on nominations from peer physicians and vetted to meet the criteria to earn Top Doc. The list is created with the national healthcare research firm Castle Connolly. If you’d like to see the entire list, click here.

We take pride in the care we provide and appreciate being recognized.

Pacifier Recall

This week a recall on pacifiers was announced:

From CNN:

More than 333,000 silicone pacifiers available for purchase on Amazon have been voluntarily recalled by the distributor due to reports that the nipple can detach and cause a chocking hazard for infants.

The recalled pacifiers, made by Frigg in Denmark, come in two types: The “Classic” version has a silicone nipple attached to a round plastic shield; in a version called “Daisy,” the nipple is attached to a round, scalloped plastic shield. Each design comes in 40 colors and two sizes, 0 to 6 months and 6 to 18 months. Each pacifier has the name “Frigg” in raised letters on the handle of the pacifier shield.

A few thoughts:

– We prefer pacifiers that are one solid piece for this exact reason.

– If your child’s pacifier shows signs of wear or damage, please replace it immediately.


photo from CNN

Breastfeeding 101

Breastfeeding 101When: September 21, 2016

Where: Willows Pediatrics Office

What Time: 6:30pm – 8:00 pm

Willows Pediatrics is proud to announce a class for parents and parents-to-be who want to learn more about breastfeeding.  The class, taught by Dana Czuczka, a certified Lactation counselor, will be held in our office on Wednesday, September 21st. Download the below PDF for more information on how to register.

Breastfeeding 101 Willows