A state lawmaker came to the rescue in North Florida last week, intervening in a plan that would have shuttered a monoclonal antibody treatment site at the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds.
First reported by the NWF Daily News, the intervention came after Okaloosa County Commission Chair Carolyn Ketchel caught news the Florida Department of Health planned to close a treatment site on Dec. 18.
Wanting to stop the closure, Ketchel buzzed Republican Rep. Patt Maney asking for help. Maney, the newspaper reports, got Gov. Ron DeSantis’ blessing to delay the closure another 30 days.
The Northwest Florida Fairground site is among the dozens DeSantis opened earlier this year amid a rising wave of COVID-19 cases. The Republican Governor embarked on a roadshow of sorts, touting the drug and opening sites across the state.
Monoclonal antibodies, like those manufactured by Regeneron, are lab-created antibodies proven to mitigate COVID-19 symptoms and complications.
“If treated early, the success rate is very, very high,” DeSantis lauded in September.
Yet despite the fanfare, sites across the state continue to close or are otherwise facing supply issues.
The shortage of monoclonal antibodies in Florida 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 — two makers of the cocktail.
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.
The purchase came after DeSantis urged President Joe Biden in September to acquire more doses.
“We want to get you the treatment you need, and (President Joe) Biden doesn’t want to give it to you,” 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.”
Four monoclonal antibody treatment sites in South Florida temporarily closed Tuesday as the state seeks additional doses from the federal government. Others, meanwhile, are handing off the treatment to community partners.
December 23, 2021 at 9:43 am
There is a rumor that being vaccinated against Covid reduces the need for monoclonal antibodies treatments.
December 24, 2021 at 10:57 am
There is a fact that having monoclonal antibody treatments reduces the need to take a vaccination some may not want to take.
December 27, 2021 at 2:13 am
Why isn’t the fact that most types of monoclonal antibodies that were used to treat earlier strains of Covid19 are ineffective against the Omicron variant revealed in this story. Dr. Nikhil Bhayani, an infectious disease specialist for Texas Health Resources said Friday, “The monoclonal antibodies that were pulled off from use (Regeneron and Bamete) makes perfect sense, because studies have shown that they have very little benefit against the Omicron variant which currently makes up the vast majority of new cases in Florida. Sotrovimab and Evusheld are effective against the Omicron variant but they are in short supply with the doses that are available are being reserved for front line health care workers in setting other than dedicated monoclonal antibody treatment sites.
In that the only treatment that is effective against Omicron is not currently available to the general public, what is the point of keeping this particular monoclonal antibody site open? Wouldn’t it make more sense to temporarily shut it down and reopen it when effective treatments become more readily available? Seems to me that keeping that monoclonal antibody site open when they can do hardly any treatments would be a waste of taxpayer dollars which, as I recall, used to be abhorrent to Republican politicians.
This being the case, the WHOLE truth, as opposed to the cherry picked facts and biased conclusions in this article, is that the treatments Joe Biden “doesn’t want to give you” are the ones that are ineffective and DeSantis, instead of running an effective and well managed health department would prefer to pay people for standing on one foot with nothing to do because effective treatments aren’t currently available.
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