Alabama doctor shares agony of treating dying Covid patients who wish they’d been vaccinated

·2 min read
Alabama doctor Brytney Cobia says some of her unvaccinated Covid patients have died asking for the shot (AFP via Getty Images)
Alabama doctor Brytney Cobia says some of her unvaccinated Covid patients have died asking for the shot (AFP via Getty Images)

An Alabama doctor has described the excruciating experience of treating dying Covid-19 patients who wish they’d gotten the vaccine.

“I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections,” Dr Brytney Cobia wrote in a Facebook post. “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.”

Dr Cobia, a physician at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, says she tries to use the tragedies to encourage others to get the shot.

“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,” she wrote.

Alabama has one of the country’s lowest vaccination rates, with just 42.4 per cent of its adult population vaccinated. And as the Delta variant of the virus spreads across the US, infections and deaths in the state are climbing.

After an unvaccinated patient dies of the virus, Dr Cobia says, their surviving relatives often tearfully explain how misinformation had led them to refuse the jab.

“They tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political,” the doctor wrote. “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.”

Much of that misinformation has been propagated by right-wing politicians and pundits. Fox News host Tucker Carlson, for example, has repeatedly cast doubt on the vaccines’ efficacy, and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene recently said Covid is only dangerous to obese people and senior citizens.

As a result, conservative-leaning states like Alabama have been hit particularly hard by the latest wave of the virus. Two deep-red states, Missouri and Arkansas, now constitute the country’s Covid epicenter.

A few Republican leaders are beginning to push back, encouraging their constituents to get vaccinated. After reading Dr Cobia’s post, Alabama’s junior senator, Tommy Tuberville, spoke up on Twitter.

“This is heartbreaking,” Mr Tuberville wrote. “Getting the COVID vaccine only takes a few minutes. It’s effective, safe, and doesn’t cost you a dime. I got mine, and I encourage you to talk to your doctor about getting yours.”

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