A boy in Houston between the ages of 10 and 19 died from COVID-19 last month, marking the city’s first such death in a child with no underlying health conditions. The child, who was not identified by name, had not received a COVID-19 vaccine, although it was not clear whether he was of eligible age.
Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are available to children as young as 12 through emergency use authorization. His death marks the seventh pediatric COVID-19 fatality in Houston, although all previous cases involved underlying conditions.
“On behalf of the City of Houston, I extend my condolences to the boy’s family during their time of grief,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said, in a news release posted by the Houston health department. “The death of a loved one under any circumstance is heartbreaking, especially when we have the power to slow the spread and save lives. I encourage all eligible Houstonians ages 12 and older to get vaccinated and wear a face mask in large crowds or areas where you cannot socially distance.”
Nationwide hospitals are reporting increasing pediatric COVID-19 cases compared to rates seen during previous surges. Health officials have urged those who are eligible to get vaccinated to protect others who cannot.
“This tragedy serves as a reminder that children, even without underlying health conditions, can get seriously ill and die from COVID-19,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston. “Getting vaccinated is not only about protecting you, it’s about protecting everyone close to you, especially your family, from serious illness and death.”
Houston’s tragic news comes as Louisiana announced the death of a child under 1, and amid reports of a high school freshman’s passing.