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Distribution changes in monoclonal antibody treatment may cause shortages in TN hospitals
Monday, September 20th 2021
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — The demand for the monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients has led to the federal government changing the way it allocates its supply.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced they are distributing the antibody treatment doses based on state and territory instead of allowing hospitals to directly order the number of treatments they need.
The White House says these changes are intended to make sure the entire country has access to this treatment.
“Over the last month, given the rise in cases due to the Delta variant and the lower number of vaccination rates in some of these states — like Florida, like Texas — just seven states are making up 70 percent of the [antibody treatment] orders,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a recent press briefing. “Our supply is not unlimited, and we believe it should be equitable across states across the country.”
ome local clinics are feeling the impact of supply chain issues based on demand.
A spokesperson with Maury Regional Medical center says they treated fewer patients last week because of supply chain issues. They typically treat 72 patients a day on average, but only had the resources to treat 14 people a day on average for most of last week.
Maury Regional since replenished their supply and have resumed treating a larger number of patients daily.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center says they haven’t reached a shortage yet but evaluate their supply on a weekly basis.
“We’ve certainly heard that the supply is restricted or that there’s limitations in the supply and shortages are anticipated but I’m not sure the time frame that’s anticipated to happen in,” VUMC Covid Infusion Clinic director Dr. Karen Bloch said. “I’m not sure how the state is deciding where to appropriate different doses to.”
The Tennessee Department of Health is responsible for allocating the antibody treatment doses across the state.
A spokesperson with the department said:
HHS recently informed states of disruptions to the federal supply chain for monoclonal antibody products. We are communicating with providers to understand how much product they need, how much they have on hand, and then match that with available supply. We are making sure that all areas of the state have access. Monoclonal antibody allocations are expected to change weekly, although we haven’t yet been informed of the algorithm of the allocations. Providers will order shipments of monoclonal antibodies through the Tennessee Department of Health.
A group of Tennessee congressmen and women sent a letter to the department of health and human services, urging them to increase availability to areas in need.
Doctors say while the treatment is a great resource, they urge people to get the vaccine to avoid needing the treatment at all.
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