A doctor in Alabama pleaded for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as she shared grim accounts of young, healthy and unvaccinated people dying of the disease.
The sobering message from Dr. Brytney Cobia posted Sunday on Facebook has been liked and shared thousands of times.
“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late,” she said of her COVID-19 patients.
“A few days later when I call time of death, I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same.
“They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’.”
But they were wrong, she said, and they can’t go back.
“So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives,” she wrote.
As the highly contagious delta variant surges around the country, coronavirus is hitting the unvaccinated population with outsize force. In Alabama, 94% of COVID-19 hospital patients and 96% of Alabamians who have died of COVID-19 since April were not fully vaccinated, AL.com reports.
Alabama ranks among the states with the lowest percentage of population vaccinated, with just 34% fully vaccinated.
Cobia, who works at the Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, told AL.com the current influx of patients reminds her of last November, right before Alabama’s peak in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
“What we saw in December 2020 and January 2021, that was the absolute peak, the height of the pandemic, where I was signing 10 death certificates a day,” she said.
For the vaccine hesitant, she encouraged people to raise their concerns with their own doctors. She said she frequently finds that people who aren’t vaccinated haven’t spoken to their doctor but instead made their decision based on information from other sources.
“And most of them, they’re very honest, they give me answers. ‘I talked to this person, I saw this thing on Facebook, I got this email, I saw this on the news,’ you know, ‘these are all the reasons that I didn’t get vaccinated,’” she said.