Lack of public education and logistical issues prevented Texans from getting COVID-19 treatment
If you are over 12 years of age and test positive for COVID-19, you are most likely eligible to receive monoclonal antibody treatment with a Texas Dime.
For most, the biggest obstacle to getting COVID-19 treatment at an early stage has been knowing it exists, according to a CNN report released last week.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott received treatment after testing positive for the coronavirus in August. The governor encouraged all eligible Texans with COVID-19 to do the same.
After clinical studies found that the treatment significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 for people with underlying conditions, the Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in emergency in November 2020.
The federal government began shipping doses to public and private health care providers across the country soon after. In Texas, heads of state and health officials opened 11 “infusion centers” across the state in January. Texans over 55 with certain health problems could come to these centers and receive a free dose of monoclonal antibodies.
Amid a further increase in the number of cases in January, state leaders and health officials denounced the lack of promotion of the treatment. But as the number of cases declined in February and March, authorities shut down nearly all mass infusion centers or turned them over to local providers. As of June, providers in Texas were receiving a total of less than 2,000 doses per month.
The federal government lowered the age requirement from 55 to 12 and created new weight criteria in May. About three-quarters of Texans have become eligible for treatment under the new guidelines.
As another deadly wave began in mid-July, Texas began to reopen its public infusion centers.
“It’s a very effective intervention for COVID-19. It is underutilized. – Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President
Despite these efforts, however, state governments and healthcare providers in Texas and across the country have failed to properly educate the public and the medical community about the treatment, according to the CNN survey.
“This is unacceptable,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert and professor at the UCSF School of Medicine, told CNN. “We have an evidence-based drug, and it’s provided free by the government, but there are barriers built into the system to get it.”
Officials in major US hospital systems blamed the low treatment rates on staff shortages, the survey found. In Texas, many have paid hundreds of dollars to receive treatment from private providers because they were unfamiliar with state facilities, an employee at a North Texas infusion center said. Observer.
Speaking to CNN, a spokesperson for the American Hospital Association blamed the time and equipment required to administer monoclonal antibodies for the low rates of administration.
“There is a lot more to the treatment than the infusion or the injections themselves,” the association official said, adding that many hospitals are facing serious staff shortages.
“These treatments also require the right types of equipment, including infusion pumps, IV bags, patient seats,” added the spokesperson. “You also need trained personnel to register patients, administer infusions or injections, monitor side effects, and so on. ”
When COVID-19 patients come for antibodies, “hospitals should take extra precautions to ensure they have spaces that minimize the risk of exposure for non-COVID patients. These spaces also need proper ventilation and the staff working with them need the right amount of ventilation. [personal protection equipment]”, Noted the spokesperson for the association.
Dr Anthony Fauci pleaded with doctors and patients to make better use of the treatment during a White House briefing in August. “It’s a very effective intervention for COVID-19. It is underutilized, ”he said.
Texas is still working to expand monoclonal antibody treatments, even though the number of cases has started to decline in recent weeks. There are currently 24 state-sponsored infusion centers open to walk-in people. Two of them are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.