An Alabama doctor revealed in a social media post over the weekend that one of the last things she has to do before intubating her patients who are gravely ill with COVID-19 is often to explain why they can no longer take a vaccine.
Dr. Brytney Cobia, a physician at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, says that with the spread of the delta variant she has lately been admitting “young healthy people” with very serious coronavirus infections.
“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine,” Cobia wrote on Facebook. “I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late. 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.”
Cobia added that the patients and their families often try to explain the different reasons for not getting the vaccine:
“… 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. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t.”Dr. Brytney Cobia
Cobia told AL.com that despite having an effective vaccine readily available to all, it’s still hard not to sympathize with her patients who actively left themselves defenseless against a deadly virus.
“You kind of go into it thinking, ‘Okay, I’m not going to feel bad for this person, because they make their own choice,’” Cobia said. “But then you actually see them, you see them face to face, and it really changes your whole perspective, because they’re still just a person that thinks that they made the best decision that they could with the information that they have, and all the misinformation that’s out there.”
When it comes to the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Alabama is tied with Mississippi for the lowest vaccination rate – 34% – according to Johns Hopkins data.
As the delta variant spreads rapidly across the U.S., nearly all of the people who are now being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 are unvaccinated, according to Associated Press analysis of public data.
Cobia’s heartbreaking post was a reply to another Alabama physician, Dr. David B. Wilhem, who urged people to get vaccinated, saying, “I will repeat my statement from last week: If you haven’t had Covid and are unvaccinated, there is a significant likelihood you’ll get Delta variant Covid in the next 60-90 days.”