'Charitable' Teenage Boy Dies of Stroke After Catching COVID

A teenage boy, described as "charitable" by his headteacher, has died of a stroke after catching COVID-19.

Mohammed Habib, 14, passed away on October 24.

Less than a week later, Harry Towers, a 15-year-old boy who attended the same school, died after catching the virus.

Both boys were pupils at St. John Fisher Catholic College in Newcastle-under-Lyme in England.

Neither of them had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

However, they, along with 12-to-15-year-old pupils at St John Fisher Catholic College, were due to receive COVID-19 and flu shots at school on October 8, just weeks before the boys died.

The COVID-19 shots were rescheduled for 19 November, the BBC reports.

Towers died on Saturday, October 30.

Both of the boys had contracted the virus before their deaths, and neither of them is believed to have had underlying health conditions that could make them more vulnerable to the virus.

North Staffordshire senior coroner Andrew Barkley said that Habib died from a bleed on the brain following a stroke that was caused by COVID-19.

Towers' death is currently being treated as unexplained, as he had taken a lateral flow test two days before he died, which had come back negative.

He had been intending to return to school when it reopened the following week.

"It is correct that the pathologist is considering COVID-19 as being contributory to the death of Harry Towers, but at this stage, the cause of death is still under investigation," Barkley said.

Headteacher Garrett Murray paid tribute to both Habib and Towers in a letter sent to parents of St John Fisher Catholic College pupils, saying that they both "will be deeply missed."

"Mohammed was devout in his faith. His charitable nature will be sorely missed by all in the community. In his quiet way, Habib always looked out for others in need and was ready to support and help them," read the letter.

"Harry approached life with a wonderful sense of humor and showed such care and compassion towards all those that he encountered. Harry was popular and loved by all his peers, teachers and pastoral staff."

On September 3, the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation had concluded that the COVID-19 vaccine would only offer a "marginal gain" to people in this group.

Less than two weeks later, on September 13, the UK's chief medical officers recommended administering COVID-19 shots for healthy 12-to-15-year-olds, primarily as an effort to reduce disruption to schooling.

However, the recommendation was for only a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

On November 29, it was announced that healthy 12-to-15-year-olds should have a second Pfizer shot three months or more after their first.

Empty school classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic
12-15-year-old pupils at St John Fisher Catholic College had been supposed to receive a COVID-19 shot a few weeks before Habib and Towers died, but it was rescheduled. Drazen Zigic/iStock