JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A 14th Mississippi child has died from COVID-19, the state’s department of health said Wednesday.

The infant under the age of one was the most recent child to die in Mississippi. The child was the first person under 18 to die from COVID-19 in the state in 2023. According to state department of health data, eight children between the ages of 11 and 17 have died since the first cases of the virus were identified in 2020, making that age range the most prone to pediatric deaths in the state so far.

Dr. Paul Byers, the state epidemiologist, said the death should serve as a reminder for residents to get vaccinated and to make sure that they are up to date on booster shots to protect against the virus.

“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,” Byers said in a news release. “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, according to the state department of health.

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The department said vaccination and boosters are most important for adults 65 and older — and people of any age who have weakened immune systems. Still, it recommends that anyone six months of age and older remain up to date on vaccinations if eligible.

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