East Alabama Health COVID infusions on hold

Published 11:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

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Since last December, East Alabama Health has provided more than 3,000 monoclonal antibody infusion treatments to people with COVID-19 in an effort to help them recover more quickly and, in most cases, to prevent hospitalization, according to John Atkinson, public relations director for East Alabama Medical Center. These have taken place at East Alabama Medical Center, EAMC-Lanier, Auburn University Medical Clinic and occasionally in the emergency departments at both hospitals.

However, these infusions have been put on hold as of Thursday, Dec. 23 because of information received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) that indicates the current two treatment options show a markedly reduced effectiveness against the Omicron variant, according to Atkinson.

A newer monoclonal, sotrovimab, however, has been shown to be much more effective against the Omicron variant, which is now the dominant strain in the U.S.

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A very limited amount of sotrovimab was available for distribution this week, with another 300,000 doses becoming available for national distribution in January.

That’s when East Alabama Health expects to receive a shipment, but an exact date is unknown. Until then, COVID infusions will not be available.   

In the meantime, residents are encouraged to be extra cautious during their holiday gatherings in hopes of avoiding the contracting or transmitting of COVID-19.

Residents are also reminded that vaccination remains the best option for the prevention of COVID-19 or the likelihood of a mild illness in the event of a breakthrough case.