Blessed with a young, healthy body and no pre-existing conditions — that was 20-year-old Tyler Gilreath's rationale to decide against COVID vaccination.  The youngster believed he was "too healthy to need the vaccine." But then he contracted the virus and died.

Gilreath's distraught mother, Tamra Demello, is now encouraging young people who think they are invincible to the virus to get vaccinated to save themselves and their loved ones at a time when the spread of the delta variant is threatening to buckle the US health care system once again.

A sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Gilreath tested positive for the virus on Aug. 20, three days after he arrived at the campus. After battling for three weeks with severe illness and undergoing multiple surgeries, he was taken off life support Monday, according to News Observer.

Demello said she had pleaded with her son for months on end to get jabbed, but to no avail. "He rationalized that a healthy 20-year old that gets it (COVID-19) won't get that sick," Demello said in a  Facebook post.

“When they’re 20, you can’t make them do what they don’t want to do anymore,” Demello said in an interview with the outlet. “You can cajole, you can threaten. I can’t physically pick him up and put him in the car," she added.

Demello said her son had finally agreed to get the shot after he gets settled in the college. But he never got a chance, the grieving mother said.

After testing positive for the virus, Gilreath developed a sinus infection that made its way to his cranial cavity, and his brain eventually developed a swelling.

“We’re just hoping if we can just convince these young people who think they’re invincible, you know, that this active, healthy, not ever really sick kid — if this can happen to him from those complications, that it can happen to them too,” Demello said, urging the parents of unvaccinated children to get them to do so immediately.

Gilreath had registered for organ donation and the doctors harnessed his heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas. "We’re very thankful that he’ll live on. He would’ve been just really happy to have at least helped somebody else,” Demello said.

vaccine-6165772_1920 (1) Representation. Vaccine. Photo: Pixabay