DeSantis bringing in 3,000 doses of new COVID-19 treatment after Biden administration diverts supply

Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference in Tampa. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

TAMPA – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced the state is purchasing 3,000 doses of a new monoclonal antibody treatment after the Biden administration made the decision last week to limit the number of Regeneron doses received by Florida and other states.

DeSantis said the new doses coming to the state will be sotrovimab, a single-dose monoclonal antibody manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline that was granted emergency use authorization by the FDA in May.

The supply of Regeneron, which the state has used at 25 treatment sites across Florida, has dropped off dramatically, according to DeSantis.

“The total Regeneron new into the state of Florida will be 17,800. To put that in perspective, we were doing just at our state sites a couple of weeks ago over 30,000 treatments, that’s not even counting what the hospitals are doing,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Tampa.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told The Washington Post the federal government plans to limit the quantity of the treatment each state can receive after just seven states including Florida used 70% of the country’s supply of the treatment. The others are Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana.

The federal health agency now is allocating a weekly distribution “based on weekly reports of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in addition to data on inventories and use” submitted by states to the federal government, HHS officials said.

DeSantis, a Republican, has been critical of the move. He has heavily promoted the treatment while simultaneously fighting preventative measures like mask mandates and vaccine requirements.

He said the state may be forced to close some of its treatment sites and further restrict who is able to receive the treatment.

“Those are going to be decisions that will be forced upon us to do, and I hope it doesn’t come to that but we were upset at the initial cut but then this next week is cut even more. And this is a dramatic reduction, make no mistake about it,” DeSantis said, adding there is still high demand for the COVID-19 treatment.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democratic candidate for governor, also wrote a letter to the Biden administration, calling on the federal government not to limit Florida’s access to Regeneron.

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