Dr. Anza Stanley listens to Zavi Jackson's heartbeat while his twin sister, Zuri, watches.
Dr. Anza Stanley listens to Zavi Jackson's heartbeat while his twin sister, Zuri, watches.
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Children's experts: Don’t miss peds visits during pandemic

Published on Monday, July 13, 2020

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

Missing pediatric well visits and vaccinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic can harm your child’s health, Children’s of Mississippi experts say.

“We want to see our patients for their health maintenance visits and all other health care needs,” said Dr. Anza Stanley, assistant professor of pediatrics and a general pediatrician at the Children’s of Mississippi clinic at 421 S. Stadium Drive near the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus in Jackson.

Children’s of Mississippi is UMMC’s pediatric arm, including the state’s only children’s hospital as well as pediatric specialty and sub-specialty clinics around the state.

Chisa Lanier of Ridgeland brought year-old twins Zavi and Zuri Jackson to see Stanley for a check-up. “COVID-19 is a concern, but I know that the clinic is taking the steps to be safe. I want to make sure they’re healthy.”

Stanley said check-ups such as Zavi’s and Zuri’s are important.

Portrait of Anza Stanley

“These visits are when a child’s growth and development are monitored,” Stanley said. “Being up-to-date in vaccinations is vital, and immunizations are done at these visits. A child going to well visits will most likely have fewer illnesses, and any health issues that child has will not go undiagnosed.”

Children who have chronic health issues need those follow-up visits, since conditions such as asthma and diabetes can be adversely affected by COVID-19. For teenagers, check-ups can be a time to screen for anxiety and depression. Physicians can also ask families about issues including food and family activities.

“We want to make sure our patients and their families are as healthy as they can be,” Stanley said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents more than 67,000 pediatricians across the country, stresses the importance of routine clinic visits.

“It’s really critical for parents to remember that their pediatricians and pediatric sub-specialists are out there and available to take care of kids,” said AAP President Dr. Sally Goza, a practicing pediatrician in Fayetteville, Georgia, in an interview on “Good Morning America.” “We are available to see patients, and yet we know it’s a scary time for parents.”

Children’s of Mississippi is taking special care to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. All health care team members wear face masks and practice hand hygiene and other infection prevention measures.

Waiting areas have been rearranged for social distancing and are frequently cleaned and sanitized.

When patients arrive at Children’s of Mississippi clinics, their families are questioned on fever and any possible exposure to COVID-19. Patients 2 years and older and their families are required to wear face masks. Masks will be provided to those without them.

“We are taking the steps to make each visit to our clinic safe for everyone,” Stanley said.

To learn more about Children’s of Mississippi, visit the Children’s of Mississippi webpage. To make an appointment at any Children’s of Mississippi clinic, call (888) 815-2005.