A Houston boy between the ages of 10 and 19 is the city’s first pediatric COVID-19 death without underlying health conditions, the Houston Health Department announced Thursday. Houston’s six previous pediatric deaths all had underlying health conditions.
The child, unvaccinated for COVID-19, was white and died in late July at a Houston hospital. While he tested positive for COVID-19, it’s currently unknown if he was infected with a variant of the virus.
Privacy laws prevent the health department from providing any other identifiable information.
“On behalf of the City of Houston, I extend my condolences to the boy’s family during their time of grief,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “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.”
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is currently authorized for people age 12 and up while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently authorized for people age 18 and up.
Getting vaccinated prevents serious illness, hospitalization, and death; it also helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“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.”
With the more contagious Delta variant rapidly spreading, the health department urges everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering in public indoor settings.
Getting vaccinated is free and does not require ID, proof of residency, citizenship, or insurance.
The Houston Health Department provides free vaccinations at fixed sites and pop up clinics across the city. People should visit HoustonEmergency.org or call 832-393-4220 to find a nearby free vaccination site.