Anti-vaccine Americans are "begging" doctors for a COVID-19 vaccine while laying on their deathbeds, a doctor says.
While the United States has recorded over 625,000 deaths, the number of daily recorded deaths has fallen to 300 as of Tuesday (local time) compared to over 4000 in January this year.
The country has also administered 338 million doses of the vaccine and 49 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated.
But an Alabama doctor has described the pain families go through when an unvaccinated relative dies from COVID-19 because they thought the virus was a hoax.
"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."
Three vaccines are authorised for use in Alabama - BioNTech-Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. Despite these being available for months, local news outlet Alabama Live says just 33.7 percent of the population is fully vaccinated and case numbers and hospitalisations are surging again.
"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," Dr Cobia continued in her Facebook post.
"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.
"They wish they could go back. But they can't. 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."
Dr Cobia says it's different mentally and emotionally to care for someone who could have prevented their disease but chose not to.
"You kind of go into it thinking, 'Okay, I'm not going to feel bad for this person, because they make their own choice', but then you actually see them, you see them face to face, and it really changes your whole perspective, because they're still just a person that thinks that they made the best decision that they could with the information that they have," she told Alabama Live.
"And now all you really see is their fear and their regret. 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."
Nearly 11,500 people in Alabama have died from COVID-19 and there are nearly 564,000 total cases.