East Alabama Medical Center nurse Harvard Graham checks fluids for a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Opelika, Ala. Credit: Julie Bennett / AP

An Alabama physician has a stark message for those still resisting COVID-19 vaccinations.

Dr. Brytney Cobia, a physician at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, wrote Sunday on Facebook that she has recently admitted numerous “young healthy people” who are severely ill from COVID-19.

“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine,” Cobia wrote. “I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

When they die a few days later, Cobia wrote, she comforts their grieving families and suggests they honor their lost loved one by getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

“They cry,” Cobia wrote. “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,” she wrote. “But they can’t.”

Cobia wrote that she prays the deaths will save more lives by encouraging others to get vaccinated.

“It’s not too late, but some day it might be,” she wrote.

More than 97 percent of those now being hospitalized with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated, according to Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN reported.

Cobia told AL.com that she tries to steel herself when she admits a new COVID-19 patient. “But then you actually see them,” she said.

“And now all you really see is their fear and their regret,” Cobia said. “And even though I may walk into the room thinking, ‘Okay, this is your fault, you did this to yourself,’ when I leave the room, I just see a person that’s really suffering, and that is so regretful for the choice that they made.”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, echoed Cobia’s comments in a post to Twitter.

“This is heartbreaking,” 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.”

More than 191 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide with more than 4 million deaths as of July 20, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States has more than 34 million confirmed cases with more than 609,000 deaths.

States began easing pandemic restrictions in the spring as three vaccines became available and cases declined. But a new variant of the virus has sparked a resurgence in cases.

The delta variant, first recorded in India, is more contagious and increases disease severity and risks of hospitalization. The COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States are effective against it, but some areas of the nation still have very low vaccination rates.

The delta variant now makes up 83 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the United States, CNN reported.

But a Yahoo News/YouGov poll conducted July 13-15 and released Tuesday shows that 37 percent of unvaccinated Americans think vaccines are riskier than COVID-19, McClatchy News reported.

And an Axios/Ipsos poll found that 55 percent of those still unvaccinated say nothing would make them more likely to get the shot, McClatchy also reported.

Story by Don Sweeney, McClatchy Washington Bureau