Regeneron monoclonal antibodies in short supply as COVID crush hits Florida

Long lines for testing remind of pandemic’s early days

Miami-Dade County’s supply of the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment touted by Gov. Ron DeSantis has been exhausted, the mayor’s office told Local 10 News on Tuesday morning.

Miami-Dade County’s supply of the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment touted by Gov. Ron DeSantis has been exhausted, the mayor’s office told Local 10 News on Tuesday morning.

Tropical Park in southwest Miami-Dade was the only county-run site offering the treatment for people who recently tested positive for COVID-19. The site will reopen on Wednesday, and patients will be contacted directly to reschedule appointments, the county said.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s office said several other parts of the state have also run out or will soon be without supply. They are requesting more “urgently” from the state health department.

Some hospitals and doctors in the area still have doses for eligible patients.

Local 10 News reached out to the Florida Department of Health, which said:

“The CDR Health monoclonal antibody treatment sites in Lee, Broward, Miami-Dade, and St. Lucie county are training staff in additional administration techniques on Tuesday, December 21 and will be temporarily closed. They will reopen on Wednesday, December 22nd. The State of Florida is also reallocating monoclonals from areas of the state with less demand to expand services.”

The health department also said that it has requested more doses from the federal government as the omicron variant spreads rapidly.

“Due to the federal government contracting directly with supplying providers to buy the treatments, the state can no longer directly obtain treatments as we have done previously, and we are dependent on the federal government for supply,” the state health department said in an email. “As we continue to monitor the severity of illness from omicron, the symptoms are still relatively mild.”

Broward Health North (201 E. Sample Road in Lighthouse Point) is an alternative monoclonal antibody provider in South Florida, the state said.

CDR Health said it would temporarily administer another brand of monoclonal antibodies while awaiting more from Regeneron.

Jackson Health System also released a statement to Local 10 News following inquiries regarding monoclonal antibody treatment. It read:

“Based upon supply shortages of the Regeneron antibody treatment and the early evidence that it may be less effective against the Omicron variant, Jackson Health System is regularly updating its clinical guidance about when to provide this form of therapy. Anyone who is in need of care at our facilities will receive appropriate treatment, however, we continue to advise the community that the most proactive steps to fight this virus, is to get fully vaccinated and receive your booster shot.”

Meanwhile, as infections rise across Florida, COVID-19 testing sites are packed, with lines nearly as long as they were at the height of the pandemic.

Some waited more than three hours to get tested Tuesday at Tropical Park.

In Broward County, a parade of cars winded through C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines right as testing resumed there at 8 a.m.

People waited hours there to get a PCR test.

Wait times were so long Monday that C.B. Smith Park officials had to turn people away before 4 p.m., an hour before that site was set to close.

Drivethru testing in Broward County is also happening at Markham Park in Sunrise and Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale. Those three Broward sites had to briefly close because of lightning Tuesday but have since reopened.

ADDITIONAL LINKS

HHS fact sheet on monoclonal coverage

HHS Protect Public Data Hub - Therapeutics Distribution

For information on where you can get a COVID-19 test or vaccine in South Florida, click here.


About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.