Young Boy Dies Of COVID While Vacationing In Hawaii With Vaccinated Parents

by Kristina Johnson
Bruce Bennett/Getty

A child’s tragic death in Hawaii is a stark reminder that the pandemic is far from over

Hawaii’s Department of Health announced this week that a young boy died of Covid-19 in the state, shortly after arriving for vacation with his family. Officials haven’t released his identity, saying only that he was younger than 11 and had known underlying health conditions.

According to a release from Hawaii’s Department of Health, the boy apparently began showing Covid-19 symptoms just after the family arrived in Hawaii, reportedly within just a few hours—meaning he’d likely already contracted the virus before leaving his home state. He was taken to the hospital right away and eventually died there. It’s the first pediatric Covid-19 death recorded in the state.

Hawaiian health officials also said that the boy’s parents were both fully vaccinated before they left on the trip. Given the comparatively low number of serious cases of Covid-19 among children, they may have felt that getting vaccinated themselves was enough to keep their family safe. There have been about 3.7 million cases of the virus among kids reported in the U.S. as of mid-April, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. That’s around one-tenth of the number of cases in adults. About 300 children have died, compared to almost 600,000 adults.

From the little that is known about the boy’s family, it’s reported that they followed all the recommendations they were supposed to — getting vaccinated before travel and testing negative, too — and still the virus struck.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in early April that domestic travel within the U.S. should be safe for anyone fully vaccinated — as millions of American adults now are. But since that obviously excludes kids, parents have been left to make tricky decisions about family travel. We might all be sick of sitting at home and absolutely clamoring for a change of scenery, but the benefits of traveling right now may not outweigh the risks.

This devastating case from Hawaii could make some parents think twice before sitting down to make their summer plans. If you’ve already made it through a year or more without any family trips, waiting a few more months for a children’s vaccine to be available could make it much safer. The risk of getting Covid-19 might be lower for kids, but it is still a potential risk.