'It's Too Late': Doctor Says People Begging For COVID Vaccine Before Being Intubated

A doctor in Alabama described in a Sunday post on Facebook how she has to inform unvaccinated COVID-19 patients begging for the vaccine that it was too late for the shots before she performs intubation.

Dr. Brytney Cobia, who works at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, wrote: "I'm admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections. 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 spoke with AL.com in an interview published on Monday. In it, she said of all her patients being treated for COVID-19 related illnesses, only one person had been vaccinated. That patient needed oxygen but is expected to fully recover, she said.

However, some of the unvaccinated ones are dying, which is why she took to Facebook to share her story and encourage anyone who is hesitant to get the vaccine.

Cobia told AL.com that before the vaccine was available, "it was just tragedy after tragedy after tragedy" for physicians treating critically ill COVID-19 patients. She described in more detail to the news outlet about the moment before she performs intubation—a procedure of putting a tube down someone's throat when they can't breathe on their own—and how desperately patients then want the vaccine.

She said that while she may have initially tried to feel that unvaccinated patients made their own choice, she feels bad for them when they are "face to face." She also noted how misinformation about COVID and the vaccines results in people not always making the best decisions for themselves.

State officials in Alabama recently reported that 94 percent of COVID hospital patients since April have not been fully vaccinated. Ninety-six percent of Alabamians who have died of COVID since April were unvaccinated. AL.com reported that more than 11,400 people from the state have died from COVID.

In her Facebook post, Cobia also detailed the experience of informing family members after someone dies. She wrote, "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."

She also listed a few of the misinformed excuses she received from people who avoided the shots. Some people thought certain blood types or skin color wouldn't get sick, while others believed the virus was no worse than the common flu, she wrote.

"But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can't," Cobia continued. "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."

Covid-19 patient
A doctor in Alabama shared her personal experience of treating unvaccinated COVID patients on Facebook. In this photo, a doctor holds a COVID-19 patient's hand at Renown Regional Medical Center on December 16, 2020, in Reno, Nevada. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images