Covid Infused Patients Needed, Our State’s Supply Also Matters


If area residents stay away from the Southeast Texas Regional Infusion Center because they do not have COVID-19 and therefore do not need monoclonal antibody therapy, that would be a thing. In fact, that would be good news. But in a region where the Covid numbers are far too high, that seems unlikely.

What is more likely is that residents in the area are unaware that the Regional Infusion Center is there for them or that they are not seeking this treatment even if they are sick with COVID-19. None of these developments would be acceptable on their own, but there is a wider implication: Jefferson County officials fear the infusion center will be closed if more patients do not start seeking treatment. This would deprive the region of an important hold in the battle against this pandemic.

The sudden drop in the number of patients at the infusion center is even more puzzling because just recently it was seeing more traffic than any other center in the state, up to 200 patients per day. Covid cases have not sharply declined in the region, it follows that the infusion center should still be busy, even though levels may have dropped a bit.

If awareness is a problem, it can be fixed. Residents who are showing symptoms should call the region’s Covid hotline at (409) 550-2536 to make an appointment and see if monoclonal antibody therapy might help. It has done wonders for nearly 4,000 patients in the region and is recognized by local authorities for keeping our hospitalization rate lower.

As if this challenger was not enough, another problem has arisen with this innovative and effective therapy. The federal government may soon curtail the distribution of monoclonal antibodies in Texas.

The federal government had distributed antibodies to each state based on its needs, and since Texas unfortunately had such a high level of Covid cases, it was getting a significant chunk of the national supply. But now the Biden administration wants to revert to the system that was in place earlier this year before vaccines were readily available and infections began to plummet. The result would be a smaller allocation for Texas, although our needs remain great.

Texas Congressmen and medical officials should contact the Biden administration and clarify this matter. Our state shouldn’t be getting more antibodies than any other state that needs them, but we shouldn’t be getting less than our fair share simply because of an inaccurate bureaucratic distribution system. Not all states are equal in this pandemic. Some have a fairly low number of cases, but others like Texas have hospitals and intensive care units full of Covid patients.

To his credit, the Biden administration has worked to increase the total number of doses available in September by 50%, from 100,000 per week in early August to 150,000 per week now. But this is a case where lives are at stake, and reasonable effort is not enough. Production must be accelerated.

Monoclonal antibody therapy helps save lives, and government and public health officials need to ensure that all Americans who need it can receive it. And in Southeast Texas we now have an IV center and we have to keep it as long as needed.

If you know someone who could benefit from this treatment, give them the hotline number (again, (409) 550-2536) and invite them to call.


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