21-year-old fully-vaccinated UGA student dies of COVID-19, according to family

ATHENS, Ga. — A 21-year-old University of Georgia senior has died of COVID-19 despite being fully-vaccinated, according to his family.

Shawn Kuhn, who was an exercise science major, died Monday after a six-week battle with COVID pneumonia.

Kuhn worked as a personal trainer and as a team leader at Chick-Fil-A in Athens. The restaurant posted a tribute to him on Facebook, writing, “He was an extraordinary young man and a beloved team leader at our store. We are honored and thankful to have all known and worked with Shawn.”

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Kuhn’s obituary described him as an avid Bulldog fan and passionate about serving others.

Channel 2 Action News spoke with his older sister, Sharla Brook Kuhn, who confirmed that he had been vaccinated but did not give any information about any preexisting conditions or when he received his shots. Channel 2 could not independently verify his vaccination status.

Sharla Kuhn said her family hopes that her brother’s story does not scare people away from getting vaccinated. She described her brother as “an AMAZING kid. The best I’ve ever seen.”

“While our hearts are ripped apart by this, we find comfort in knowing that Shawn had a close relationship with our Lord and Savior and is with Him as I type this,” his father, Timothy Kuhn, wrote on Facebook. ”It is so comforting though to see just how many lives Shawn touched in a positive way.”


Kuhn’s death is one of the exceedingly rare deaths from COVID-19 among people who are fully vaccinated. The Georgia Department of Health reports that 741 (0.01%) people who were fully vaccinated in Georgia have died of the virus.

Since Jan. 2, 2021, at least 10,710 people who were unvaccinated have died of the virus. Vaccines became available to anyone 16 and older on March 25.

Only two vaccinated people between the ages of 18 and 34 in Georgia have died of breakthrough cases of COVID-19. It’s unclear if Kuhn was included in that data. Just over 61% of people who died of breakthrough cases in Georgia were over age 65.

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Just 10 people (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) who were 21 years old have died of the virus in Georgia, according the GDH. Kuhn’s death has not been added to the state’s official data.

Kuhn’s funeral is Saturday in his hometown of Perry.

It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of our team leader Shawn. He was an extraordinary young man and a...

Posted by Chick-fil-A Athens/Atlanta Highway on Tuesday, October 12, 2021
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