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Gov. Beshear: Nationwide monoclonal antibody shortage will change Ky. distribution

Due to increases in demand for monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19, the federal...
Due to increases in demand for monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19, the federal government has announced changes for how treatments are supplied among states.(NIH)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:33 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Due to increases in demand for monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19, the federal government announced changes for how treatments are supplied among states.

Governor Beshear confirmed in a release Tuesday that health care providers within the commonwealth with no longer be able to order treatments directly.

State governments will now supervise distribution of a capped number of treatments given to each state from week to week.

The governor said with lower supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments available, some patients suffering from COVID may not have access to them.

“I have a concern that some Kentuckians who are hesitant about the vaccine are placing faith in monoclonal antibodies,” Beshear said in a release. “What this shortage ought to tell you is that if you’re unvaccinated and you get really sick, not only might there not be a bed in the hospital for you because they are so full, but that monoclonal antibody treatment might not be there for you either. That thing you’re counting on might not be available. What is available, and there are no supply issues at all, are these safe and effective vaccines.”

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, said the treatment gives patients a temporary boost in immunity, but does not teach a patient’s body how to create its own antibodies like the COVID vaccines do.

“Monoclonal antibodies are an important tool, but we have another alternative, vaccinations. Vaccines prime your immune system to create natural antibodies that your own body will produce to create a natural immune response that then can protect you for at least eight months or more,” Stack said in a release. “It’s a lot easier to get vaccinated than to get monoclonal antibodies.”

The treatment is currently available at 139 locations across the commonwealth. As of September 7, hospitals had a total of 9,363 monoclonal antibody treatments available, and had used 3,642 of the treatment courses.

Governor Beshear said despite the national shortage, he would work to procure treatments for as many Kentucky health care facilities as possible.

As of Tuesday, 59 percent of Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information on vaccines and to find an appointment in your area, click or tap here.

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