“Our recommendation to monoclonal antibody providers or individual facilities across the state is if they need to prioritize distribution of the treatment, the NIH guidelines are the recommended approach for that prioritization, including prioritizing those who are most likely to be hospitalized,” Bill Christian, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Health, told The Epoch Times via email.
“Ultimately, this comes down to providers’ clinical judgment to ensure those most at risk are receiving this treatment,” he added.
The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in early September recommended prioritizing people who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated if a shortage of monoclonals cropped up.
Because vaccinated people are less likely to require hospitalization after getting COVID-19, healthcare providers should consider prioritizing unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people who are at high risk of getting severe cases of the disease, Meredith Chuk, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official, told state officials in a call last week. Another population that should be prioritized over individuals predicted to have an “adequate immune response” is those who are vaccinated but have weak immune systems.
Additionally, providers should make sure to prioritize using monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 over using them on people who have been exposed to the disease but who have not yet tested positive for it.
“This is in the hands of the provider but NIH provides some considerations when there are logistical constraints,” Chuk said.
The federal government recently seized distribution of the treatments, which experts say are highly effective at keeping people out of hospitals if given soon after a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure. State and federal officials have said the seizure resulted from concerns about supply. HHS is now strictly controlling how many doses each state gets in weekly shipments. The doses are administered under emergency use authorization (EUA).