An Alabama doctor has warned that it’s “too late” to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when patients are in the hospital fighting for their lives.
Dr. Brytney Cobia, who works at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, said that she’s forced to turn down desperate pleas from COVID-19 patients to be given the vaccine before they’re placed on ventilators.
“I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections,” wrote Cobia on Facebook on Sunday.
“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.”
The majority of the infected patients currently in the hospital have not received the shot — and the one patient who has been vaccinated just needed a little oxygen and is expected to recover, Cobia told AL.com.
But some of the patients who were not vaccinated have not been as fortunate, she said.
“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,” she wrote on Facebook.
“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. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t.”
Cobia said she recommends that anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated reach out to their physician with questions.
“I try to be very non-judgmental when I’m getting a new COVID patient that’s unvaccinated, but I really just started asking them, ‘Why haven’t you gotten the vaccine?’ And I’ll just ask it point blank, in the least judgmental way possible,” she said. “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.”
“And the one question that I always ask them is, did you make an appointment with your primary care doctor and ask them for their opinion on whether or not you should receive the vaccine? And so far, nobody has answered yes to that question,” she continued.
Across the country, at least 99% of COVID-19 deaths and 97% of hospitalizations are among people who have not been vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.