Georgia Department of Public Health

The federal government has changed the way COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments will be distributed in the United States, including Georgia.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the decision Sept. 13, citing supply shortages and the extraordinary national demand for the treatment, particularly due to the rapid spread of the delta variant.

“We have safe and highly effective vaccines to protect against COVID-19. It is much easier to get a vaccine than risk becoming seriously ill with life threatening complications,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Monoclonal antibodies are in short supply and high demand and hospital beds are full. What Georgia does have is enough vaccine for all Georgians aged 12 and over to be vaccinated.”

Monoclonal antibody treatments do not replace COVID-19 vaccination.

HHS will determine each state’s weekly allocation of monoclonal antibody products, which are synthetic, laboratory-created antibodies, based on use and the number of new COVID cases, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

DPH will identify which sites in the state will receive the product and the amount each site receives and will work to provide monoclonal antibody treatments quickly and equitably to as many Georgia providers as possible, according to DPH. Health care providers will no longer be able to order the treatments directly.

Healthcare providers must record their administration of the products in order to be eligible to receive additional shipments.

DPH said it will also address the backlog of requests previously made to HHS, which DPH was not made aware of until Sept. 14.

Monoclonal antibodies help people at high risk for severe COVID illness, individuals who have recently tested positive (within 10 days) for the virus or people who are close contacts of persons who have tested positive for COVID. They do not teach a patient’s body how to create its own antibodies.

There are currently 136 locations in Georgia where monoclonal antibody treatments are being administered. https://protect-public.hhs.gov/pages/therapeutics-distribution. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider about monoclonal antibody treatments and must have a prescription or physician’s referral to receive the treatments.

As of Sept. 14, 53% of Georgians had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine and 46% of Georgians were fully vaccinated. COVID vaccine is available statewide, and DPH says it is the best tool for ending this pandemic and reducing the overwhelming strain on EMS, the healthcare system and healthcare providers.

To find a COVID vaccination location, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

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