Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Still Available To Georgians With COVID-19, But Cases Are Down
In a press conference Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, state leaders said there is no shortage in Georgia of a sought after but still experimental treatment for COVID-19 infections. GPB’s Ellen Eldridge has more.
Georgians still have access to monoclonal antibody infusions despite a recent change in the distribution model, Gov. Brian Kemp said during a briefing at the state Capitol on Thursday.
The federal government is now allocating treatments to states.
Previously, providers were ordered directly from the distributor. Now the state is given a weekly allocation and must determine where the treatment doses go.
"In short, we're being capped on our allocation," Kemp said.
In the coming week, Georgia is expected to receive 7,890 antibody courses whereas last week the federal government sent about 8,200 courses.
"We will continue to distribute these treatments as quickly as we have provided them and urge anyone who tests positive and is vulnerable to severe effects of COVID-19 to utilize this resource," Kemp said.
But the good news is cases are declining rapidly, so demand for this treatment is not exceeding supply.
"Hospitalizations and percent positive test cases have dropped 32% over the last 14 days, including a 30% decrease in cases among Georgians from 5 to 17 years old," Kemp said.
Both the governor and the commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, agree that monoclonal antibody infusion is secondary to getting a COVID vaccine in the first place.
"I mean, the numbers do not lie; 95% of the people in the hospital with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated," Kemp said during last month's briefing.
The governor did boast that 20,000 Georgians — a record for the month of September — chose to get a COVID vaccine on Sept. 3, which is the day Kemp gave state employees time off to get inoculated.
During the briefing, Toomey clarified who is encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine.
Only people who received both shots of Pfizer vaccine are eligible to receive a booster shot. But this is not an emergency, Toomey said, and Georgians should be more concerned with getting themselves, family members and friends vaccinated first.
"So the bottom line that I want to leave you with today is you don't need to run, but walk to get your booster," Toomey said. "If you were over 18 and initially got a Pfizer (shot) more than six months ago and if you were at risk, feel you're at risk or would like the booster, talk to your doctor if you have any questions."