The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has confirmed the 14th COVID-19 death of a child under the age of 18 since the onset of the pandemic — and the first of 2023.
MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said this latest death serves as a stark reminder of the importance of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date on boosters to protect vulnerable individuals who may not be eligible for vaccination.
“Vaccination not only protects you, but it also protects those around you who may not be eligible for vaccination or who may be at higher risk for complications due to age or underlying health problems,” Dr. Byers stated. “It is important to stay up to date and receive the most recent bivalent booster when eligible in order to provide the best protection against infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.”
Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for everyone six months of age and older. Vaccination and boosters are especially encouraged for adults 65 and older, children and adults who have weakened immune systems, and anyone with underlying health problems.
MSDH is encouraging those six months of age and older to remain up to date on COVID vaccinations, including the bivalent booster if eligible.
COVID-19 vaccinations are available at no cost from county health departments. Vaccinations are also available at numerous pharmacies and private providers throughout the state. Appointments can be made here.
Since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in Mississippi in March of 2020, the MSDH has reported the following pediatric deaths per year:
- 2020: One death in the 1-5 year range. One death in the 6-10 year range.
- 2021: One death in an infant under 1 year of age. One death in the 1-5 year age range. Five deaths in the 11-17 year age range.
- 2022: One death in the 1-5 year age range. Three deaths in the 11-17 year age range.
- 2023: One death in an infant under 1 year of age.