A child with no underlying or existing health issues died from COVID-19 at a Houston hospital, the city health department has said, making it the first such case in Houston.
There are six other child deaths in Houston but all had underlying health issues. “Serious chronic medical problems, the things they’ve unfortunately been going to medical doctors regularly for most of their life. That’s what most of those have been,” Chief Medical Officer for the City of Houston Dr. David Persse said, Khou.com reported.
The Houston Health Department confirmed that the child who died was between the age of 10-19, and was unvaccinated. The boy tested positive for the virus, but officials said they still don’t know if it was the Delta variant that killed him. The boy died in July.
No other details were released due to privacy laws.
“This tragedy serves as a reminder that children, even without underlying health conditions, can get seriously ill and die from COVID-19,” Persse said, adding: “Getting vaccinated is not only about protecting you, it’s about protecting everyone close to you, especially your family, from serious illness and death.”
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is allowed for people age 12 and up while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and up only.
Mayor Sylvester Turner also sent his condolences to the boy’s family. “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,” Turner said.
The health department of Houston is urging everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to wear mask especially when inside a public establishment as the more contagious Delta variant spreads across the whole country.
“You hear so many people who are saying, ‘Well, my kid is healthy so they’ll probably do just fine. Why do I need to worry?’ And this is a case that illustrates, as we’ve been saying all along, that is not a guarantee,” Persse said.