Demand has increased 20-fold in recent weeks, expert says
Some states are set to receive fewer doses of monoclonal antibody treatments after the Biden administration switched the distribution system this week.
Demand for monoclonal antibodies, used to treat non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, has shot up in recent weeks, leading to what some officials have described as a shortage.
The Biden administration tipped off states in early September that it was limiting distribution of the treatments before abruptly switching on Monday from letting sites directly order the doses to putting the federal government in charge of allocation to states, which can then choose where to send them.
Some state officials say they weren’t notified of the change until late Monday, and that pending orders with AmerisourceBergen, the primary distributor in the old model, were being closed out.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) alerted Texas health officials “that the national supply has considerably decreased and states should expect lower amounts of therapeutics available for shipment in the coming weeks,” Douglas Loveday, press officer for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told The Epoch Times in an email.
“The amount available to distribute is expected to be disproportionately small compared to the amounts needed,” he added.
Other states have also been told they won’t get as many doses as they were getting before. Among them are southern states grappling with the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation.
Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama’s top medical officer, said HHS recently called to “let us know that Alabama and some other states are going to be on an allocation.”
“We don’t think providers are going to be able to order as much as they would like,” he said during a briefing late last week. Up until the change, “there was really sort of no limit to what could be ordered,” he added.