Teen With COVID Left Fighting for Life After Deciding With Mom Not to Get Vaccine

An unvaccinated Texas high school student is fighting for his life in intensive care after contracting COVID-19.

Brenda Vasquez said her 18-year-old son Felix Sanchez, who is supposed to be starting his senior year of high school soon, had started off with mild symptoms but his condition quickly deteriorated.

She took him to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston last week after he had trouble breathing. Now, he's on an ECMO machine that helps him breathe.

Vasquez told KTRK that she and her son made the decision to not get vaccinated together. "I didn't feel comfortable because you hear the good and the bad, and it's not approved," she said.

She works in the dental field and believes she got infected at work and then passed the virus to her son, who is overweight and at higher risk from COVID-19.

In hindsight, she wishes they had gotten their shots. "Seeing him like this, I think what if he got vaccinated?" she said. "I don't wish this on any mom."

Vasquez set up a GoFundMe at the weekend to raise funds to cover medical and household bills. The page has so far amassed over $2,500 towards a $25,000 target.

According to the page, Sanchez was put on a ventilator Wednesday, August 11, and underwent emergency surgery on Friday.

"We are asking for help to support the long road Felix has ahead," she wrote.

"All money raised will be used for medical and household bills for the family during this trying time, since I am not able to work."

She added: "I have been by my son's side since he got admitted. We ask for your prayers during this difficult time so Felix can have a speedy recovery. He is in God's hands and we continue to have Faith that he will overcome this. Thank you and please stay safe. May God Bless you."

Vasquez and Texas Children's Hospital have been contacted for additional comment.

Healthcare workers looks out from COVID unit
A healthcare worker looks out from a window in the door to the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, July 2, 2020. Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

The family's plight comes as health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid a surge in cases fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

Only 14.6 percent of people aged 10 to 19 in Harris County are vaccinated, according to a database from Harris County Public Health. People in that age bracket also make up 14.6 percent of the weekly COVID-19 cases in Harris County as of Sunday.

According to the latest data, 56.5 percent of the eligible population in Harris County are fully vaccinated, while 68.4 percent have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.