Four monoclonal antibody treatment sites in Florida temporarily closed Tuesday as the state continued to request additional doses from the federal government amid a rise in COVID-19 cases and, consequently, demand for doses.
A health care subsection of multipronged firm CDR Maguire announced the one-day closures. The company has received a significant chunk of federally funded state contracts for COVID-19 testing, vaccination and monoclonal antibody treatments.
The affected sites, which will reopen Wednesday at reduced capacity, include CB Smith Park in Broward County, Tropical Park in Miami-Dade County, Old Bonita Spring Library in Lee County and St. Lucie Fairgrounds in St. Lucie County.
Alternative sites can be found on the Florida Department of Health website. Local options include Lee Memorial Hospital in Lee County, Broward Health North in Broward County and Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in St. Lucie County.
Staff are now training in new administration and operations to expand supply, “maximize services and resume operations as quickly as possible” at the closed sites, CDR personnel said in a press note sent just before noon.
“Last week, CDR Health shifted to appointments only, with proof of a COVID-19 positive test,” CDR Health CEO Tina Vidal-Duart said in a statement. “While we await additional allocations from the federal government, we are working with the state of Florida to redistribute treatment supply and quickly reschedule appointments.”
Upon reopening, the closed CDR sites will offer bamlanivimab, another brand of monoclonal antibodies administered by IV, until additional Regeneron doses are available.
The FDA on Dec. 3 expanded its emergency authorization of bamlanivimab, which Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly makes for treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 for virtually all patients.
The treatment is not as effective against the virus’ omicron variant, according to an Eli Lilly spokesperson, who said analysis results showed it provides “reduced neutralization activity” against omicron.
The shortage of Regeneron’s version of the monoclonal antibody treatment, REGN-COV2 — which can be administered as a shot rather than by IV, like bamlanivimab and GlaxoSmithKline’s sotrovimab version — comes months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services significantly reduced Florida’s allotment of doses from both Regeneron and Eli Lilly.
“We want you get you the treatment you need, and (President Joe) Biden doesn’t want to give it to you,” Gov. Ron DeSantis told Fox News in late September. “But I’m going to come hell or high water to do whatever I can to get it for you.”
In November, state lawmakers OK’d a $643.4 million purchase of Glaxo’s version of the monoclonal antibody treatment, which isn’t funneled directly through the federal government. Of the three versions, it appears to perform best against omicron because it was specifically formulated to bind to a part of the virus less likely to mutate.
The first presumptive case of omicron, which is thought to be three to six times as contagious as the delta variant, hit Florida Dec. 7.
Two weeks later, Florida’s seven-day case average reached a three-month high, the Miami Herald reported.
Florida expects to receive more doses from the federal government by the end of the week, Vidal-Duart said.
“The goal is for closures to only last one day and to quickly reschedule all appointments,” she said. “Our No. 1 goal is to reopen the sites as quickly as possible and continue to provide this life-saving treatment.”
December 21, 2021 at 1:37 pm
Regeneron is much less effective against the omicron variant according to the company that makes it.
December 25, 2021 at 9:54 pm
I was diagnosed Covid positive on the 24th at 9:am. I am 65 years old and have not been vaccinated. I came down with flu like symptoms and a fever of 101.5. I had the Regeneron shots at 5pm the same day. By 8pm my fever went down to 99.5 and I still have my flu symptoms but nowhere as bad as they were before i took the Regeneron. This is a miracle drug for me!!!
December 31, 2021 at 10:50 pm
Same here. It works…plus only 22.5% of the new cases are omicron…..they changed that.
December 23, 2021 at 1:15 pm
So I’m a liver transplant pt from Clearwater/Dunedin area on prophylactic Regeneron. Now the CDRM tells me they’re all out and not scheduling appointments. Would really need to switch to the Glaxo for omicron protection. Better yet the new EUA approved AZ product Gov DeSanctis just touted for 6 mo protection. Can you help me?
December 30, 2021 at 9:03 am
I am 64 Years old, Moderna vaccinated and boosted. My life partner and children 12 and 14, all Pfizer vaccinated were exposed 5 days before Christmas and three days later, all tested positive and had mild cold systems. We distanced and masked to attempt keeping me negative and I tested every day with a home test. 3 days later I tested positive and also had mild cold symptoms however my cough felt bronchitis like and my oxygen level fell to 94 from my normal 99. I went to CB the next morning with no appt and found a sea of cars miles long. I tyrned around and went home. I decided to book an appt, it was two days to get one at CB park, so I tried West Park in WPB, next afternoon was available. I booked it. I arrived an hour early to no lines, a half full parking lot, a sign that said no walk in’s, by appt only and registered. The staff was amazing, checked my QR Code, then they offered snacks and a welcome bag, and since I was early, told me to wait in the car and they would text me when they were ready for me. 15 minutes later, I get the text, reenter the facility and the first step is a few questions and vitals. Blood pressure was high, I was nervous, and my oxygen is still 94. From there to the first station, preparing the drip catheter in my arm, I was asked which arm would I prefer and again with some of the best “bedside manner” I have ever experienced from a medical staff (and remember, this treatment is free) Once in, first step is a large syringe full of saline. From there a short wait to the Regeneron station. Again, check my ID, my paperwork and vitals and then a bunch of docusign like signoffs. My Oxygen is still 94 and my BP still high. The medical technician then connects the treatment to the catheter already in my arm and the drip begins. About 30 seconds in, my head gets really hot, and climbing, I am concerned, almost scared for a moment, I explain this, he quickly slows the flow and I return to normal. I am moved to another chair In front of a large screen TV no less, to watch a movie while I wait for the bag to empty into me. Other than the initial reaction, I felt nothing else. About 45 minutes later, the nurse /technician then shot another syringe of Saline into the bag to flush out the remaining Regeneron and 10 minutes after that, procedure complete. Took my blood pressure again, still high but here is the amazing part. Oxygen level back to 99 and that bronchial cough, completely gone. Frankly I didn’t believe it at first, I was like ok, this is like a Jedi Mind Fu**. But it was real and although I not sure it was really necessary, after all, I was not really sick, just clearly symptomatic, but concerned given my age and underlying conditions, I felt like superman now. I was then led to another area to wait for an hour post treatment. After which I made it a point to walk around and thank all my techs for their service to the community. Frankly, I left a little teary eyed thinking about how brave they are and how lucky I was.
I’m not sure if I was just lucky or blessed but I did return to suggest the same treatment for two family members 44 and 68 both with underlying conditions only to find every site in Florida not showing any availability for appointments other than one statewide, Tallahassee, a 10 hour drive away. I hope that changes soon for others, for this treatment, as far as I’m concerned, is a miracle of modern medicine.
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