Gov. Ron DeSantis and US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are blasting a new Biden Administration policy that suddenly cuts in half Florida’s access to monoclonal antibody treatments on grounds that there is a shortage of the treatments nationwide.
Monoclonal antibody treatments are antibody cocktails that if administered shortly after a COVID-19 diagnosis boost the immune system to battle the virus. The treatments are available free of charge and without a doctor’s order to anyone age 12 or older who is at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Since the first site opened in Florida in August, Gov. Ron DeSantis has credited the treatments with decreasing COVID-19-related hospitalizations by some 50 percent.
Currently there are 25 state-run free clinic sites that offer the treatments in the state. Treatment products are available through the federal government to state departments of health nationwide. According to figures from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Florida was among seven Southern states responsible for 70 percent of orders for antibody treatment products in September so far.
During the week of Sept. 13, Florida received 30,000 doses of the treatment products.
In a Sept. 16 press conference in Broward County, DeSantis said that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the number of treatment product doses available to Florida would be cut in half so that the drugs would be allocated to states on a proportional basis rather than where outbreaks happen to be the worst.
“We are very, very concerned with the Biden administration and the HHS’s recent abrupt sudden announcement that they are going to dramatically cut the number of monoclonal antibodies that are going to be sent to the State of Florida,” DeSantis said. “And so we’re going to work like hell to make sure that we can overcome the obstacles that HHS and the Biden administration are putting on us.”
That includes obtaining a certain monoclonal antibody drug directly from its manufacturer.
Meanwhile, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that the reduction in the treatment product availability was politically motivated, and due largely to DeSantis’ resistance to federal mask and vaccination mandates.
“There’s not a shortage, there isn’t some crisis – this reeks of politics,” Rubio (R-Fl) Tweeted on Sept. 16.
“This is the Biden administration punishing Florida and saying to Florida and states like Florida ‘Oh yeah? You’re not going to have mandates? You’re not going to do what we want you to do? Well then guess what, we’re going to cut of your antibody treatments and your access to them.’”
Meanwhile, DeSantis said Florida would do whatever is necessary to make monoclonal antibody treatments available here.
“We know that there’s going to be people that need this (monoclonal antibody treatment) in the interim and we have a responsibility to be there for them – and that’s what we’re going to do,” DeSantis said.