A COVID-19 treatment is now limited around the nation

The COVID pandemic has left the nation with a magnitude of shortages, from hand sanitizer to employees. Now, we’re facing another, this time treatment for COVID-19.
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 4:08 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Due to a nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases, one treatment is becoming harder to get.

Monoclonal antibodies, effective treatment for certain COVID patients, are now affecting Rapid City.

Since November, monoclonal antibodies have been used to treat non-hospitalized patients who have either tested positive for COVID-19, have mild to moderate symptoms, or who are at high risk for progression to severe disease.

The federal government is distributing these doses to the states, which are then allocating them to the healthcare institutions. Meaning, Monument Health received less than half of the antibody doses they normally use.

“Weekly for the last approximately month, we’ve been giving up to 200 monoclonal antibodies throughout our organization per week, the allocation last week cut that in half,” said Brandi Tackett, director of infusion services at Monument Health.

This week, Monument Health received just 96 monoclonal antibody doses. With the recent surge of COVID cases and limited treatment options, Monument Health has to make a decision.

“Our COVID patient population is still pretty high in Western South Dakota, with our limited availability with our COVID monoclonals, our availability to treat all eligible patients has been reduced and we are treating the most high-risk patients first,” said Tackett.

That includes people who are at risk of becoming hospitalized without treatment, including, people already infected with COVID-19, unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals, and vaccinated people who fall under the immunocompromised.

“One important point is that COVID monoclonals are not a substitute for vaccination, the monoclonal effectiveness is very short-lived,” said Tackett.

Tackett says the most effective treatment right now is to get vaccinated.

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