Lee Health latest provider to run out of monoclonal antibody supplies in face of Omicron surge

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Sarasota Memorial closed a clinic last week.

Lee Health became the latest hospital group in Southwest Florida to close down its monoclonal antibodies treatments.

The hospital has operated three infusion centers for more than a year for outpatients. But the supplies divvied by the federal government have run out, officials said.

“Due to a nationwide shortage, Lee Health has exhausted its supply of Sotrovimab, which is the most effective monoclonal antibody (MAB) treatment for the COVID-19 omicron variant,” said Lee Health spokesperson Jonathan Little.

The closing comes as the state of Florida sees a surge of infections fueled by the particularly contagious omicron variant, now the predominant strain infecting Americans.

“Other monoclonal antibodies have been effective against previous variants, but not omicron. Sotrovimab is distributed by the federal government. The timing of receiving additional supply of Sotrovimab is uncertain. It is more important than ever to get vaccinated or get a booster shot to protect yourself against COVID-19 during the current omicron surge,” Little said.

The Fort Myers-based hospital chain announced its decision days after Sarasota Memorial Health Care System closed its MAB clinic. Sarasota Memorial spokesperson Kim Savage said those operations shut down Friday and would presumably reopen once further supplies become available.

The hospital was down to using bamlanivimab for the clinic and still has a very small supply available for inpatient use only.

“We have not heard from the state whether another allocation is coming,” Savage said.

The Manatee County Department of Health also announced last week it would close its clinic, according to the Bradenton Herald. A statewide listing of Department of Health-run clinics also no longer includes a site in Immokalee. That leaves the Tringali Community Center in Englewood and the Old Bonita Springs Library site in Lee County as the only remaining outpatient care providers with MAB treatment.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo on Tuesday sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra accusing President Joe Biden’s administration of standing in the way of an effective deployment of MAB therapy.

“While administration of monoclonal antibody therapy treatments in Florida is shifting back to the private health care sector, and there is growing evidence that some treatment options may not be as effective against the omicron variant, the federal agencies under your control should not limit our state’s access to any available treatments for COVID-19,” Ladapo wrote. “Florida can expand treatment options for patients by distributing therapeutics to providers working in areas with a low prevalence of omicron or clinics capable of variant screening.”

Notably, hospitals previously were allowed to purchase MAB treatment supplies independently, but the federal government took over distribution as the delta variant surge hit the country this summer. That prompted previous friction between Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ state administration and the Biden administration in Washington.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


3 comments

  • Alex

    December 29, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    No, it’s not Biden’s fault DeUseless and his unvaccinated followers can’t get enough Sotrovimab.

    There’s plenty of vaccines and boosters, which everyone who can get vaccinated, should have been vaccinated by now.

    • Alex

      December 29, 2021 at 4:36 pm

      Republicans.

      Wrong again, and again, and again.

    • lori hammond

      January 3, 2022 at 9:21 pm

      What we need is a response to those of us who are fully vaccinated, have underlying conditions and may not fair well without MAB’s. Vaccinations, while useful, are not the only answer to this issue. Time to broaden your horizons and be honest with Americans Dr. Fauci and Mr. Biden.

Comments are closed.


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