SAN DIEGO — A 15-year-old girl died from COVID-19 in February, San Diego County health officials announced Wednesday, marking the region’s second pediatric death of the pandemic.
The girl, who died on Feb. 3, had underlying medical conditions and was unvaccinated, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. More than two months later, officials shared the news for the first time this week, extending their sympathy to the family and urging residents to get eligible children vaccinated.
“Pediatric deaths are very tragic and unfortunate. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of this young girl,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “This unfortunate death reminds us that COVID-19 can impact anyone, regardless of age or gender, and we must do everything to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”
Experts say it is exceedingly rare for children to die from the coronavirus.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids made up about 19% of cumulative cases nationwide as of April 7. Among states that reported data to the academy, 0% to .02% of child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.
In Wednesday’s announcement, the county also warned of a rare but serious condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or “MIS-C.” Ninety-six MIS-C cases have been reported in the county since the start of the pandemic, according to HHSA.
About 84% of the county’s 12- to 17-year-old residents have gotten at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine. That percentage drops to about 43% for those between ages 5 and 11, the county said.
“The more people who are vaccinated, the better protected we all will be,” Wooten said in the county’s news release.
A variety of health care providers and pharmacies provide COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses free of charge. You can find a vaccine appointment on San Diego County’s website or in the state’s MyTurn portal.