On July 18, Brytney Cobia, a physician in Birmingham, Alabama, took to Facebook to talk about caring for Covid-19 patients. “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.” Cobia’s post, which has since been shared 16,000 times on the social platform and amplified in , proved to be an early entry in a grisly new genre of pro-vax deathbed confessions from the unvaccinated, where the dying admit their mistakes and beg others not to repeat them.
Back in July, The Atlantic’s Daniel Engber narratives playing up Covid’s dangers “Scared Straight programs for vaccines.” These deathbed confessions are a particularly morbid mutation. Initially, families and health care providers were sharing such stories to encourage healthy people to seek vaccinations while they still had the chance. Cobia said her efforts at persuasion were successful: The friends and family of her dead patients “thank me and they go get the vaccine,” she wrote at the time.