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Noem Promotes Monoclonal Antibody Treatments; Shortage and Rationing Ensue

In her latest vaccine- and logic-resistant public disservice announcement on coronavirus, Governor Kristi Noem cheerfully advises her vaccine-resistant tells her followers that “if you get covid and are at high risk, monoclonal antibody treatments are cutting hospitalizations in half. Ask your doctor if they’re right for you.”

Noem’s message fits with a shift in messaging from public health experts who say Americans haven’t been made sufficiently aware of the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody treatments. So it is nice to see the Governor following a little bit of the science for once.

But the FDA revised Emergency Use Authorization (the same kind of EUA that many of Noem’s followers said marked the coronavirus vaccines as experimental and dangerous and thus justified not getting the vaccine) limits monoclonal antibody treatment to high-risk individuals age 12 and over who have tested positive or been exposed to covid-19. Post-exposure preventive use is available only to patients who are immunocompromised or not fully vaccinated. The high-risk criteria include old age, pregnancy, overweight, kidney disease, diabetes, and other conditions. The FDA does not allow use of REGEN-COV in patients who are hospitalized due to covid-19, who require oxygen therapy due to covid-19, or who are already on oxygen therapy and have to crank up their oxygen due to covid-19.

And because people like Noem have resisted promoting the vaccine, and because people emboldened by Noem’s poor leadership have refused to get it, we’re now running short on monoclonal antibody treatments:

Supply of monoclonal antibody treatment, one of the most effective therapies for symptomatic COVID-19 patients, is now severely limited as outbreaks in mostly southern states with low vaccination rates drive a surge in demand.

“On a national level, it’s been devastating,” said Family Health Centers of San Diego infectious disease specialist Dr. Christian Ramers. “In my own clinic, we now are told that we have barely a week’s supply. People that don’t want to get a vaccine surprisingly are actually really embracing this, even though this is experimental, not FDA approved with no long-term data. People, once they get sick, they want something that’s really effective.”

The shortage is so dire that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is asking healthcare providers to prioritize the highest-risk people.

“People that we would normally be able to treat if this was last week or last month, we’re having to tell them no,” Dr. Ramers said. “This is a very uncomfortable place to be in to have to ration care. No physician and no healthcare provider wants to have to do this” [Allie Raffa, “‘We Have Barely a Week’s Supply’: Nationwide Monoclonal Antibody Shortage Forces Difficult Decisions,” NBC: San Diego, 2021.09.22].

The shortage is affecting health care providers everywhere, including South Dakota:

“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 [Gillian Trudeau, “A Covid-19 Treatment Is Now Limited Around the Nation,” KOTA-TV, 2021.09.22].

Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of coronavirus vaccines in South Dakota or anywhere else in the United States. (We should be using our overstock to help poorer nations, but that’s a different debate.)

Governor Noem could promote fully authorized coronavirus vaccines that are available to almost every American age 12 and up, increase our vaccination rate, and prevent positive cases, hospitalizations, and death. Instead, she promotes emergency-use-only monoclonal antibody treatments available only to some patients and in the process contributes to the shortage and rationing of those treatments.


  1. Eve Fisher 2021-09-23

    “The shortage is so dire that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is asking healthcare providers to prioritize the highest-risk people.”
    I keep thinking about Sarah Palin and how she used to go off on rants about all those death panels the Democrats were gonna put in with the ACA. Well, the GOP has stood fast against masks, social distancing, lockdowns, and vaccines. The result is death panels, as our beleaguered health care workers have to decide who / when to give care to. And people without Covid are dying because they can’t get into a hospital literally to save their lives thanks to the unvaccinated hordes all around us.
    We have got to vote every last one of these anti-science, anti-life Republicans out.

  2. John Dale 2021-09-23

    Rationing ensued, but not a shortage.

  3. sx123 2021-09-23

    This makes no senses. What are these governors up to?

    Covid vaccine: $20.
    Monoclonal antibody treatment: $2000+ and a waste of a couple hours of hospital resources, afaik.

    Covid vaccine: preventative measure
    Monoclonal antibody treatment: after the fact, like using weed killer

    Why do some people gladly take experimental monoclonal antibody treatment with a mixture of unproven concoctions instead of getting a covid vaccination?

    This is all scratch your head bonkers.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-09-23

    South Dakota is a putrid, petri dish of infection, showcasing how a depleted gene pool of ignorance can set the base line for self abuse.

  5. larry kurtz 2021-09-23

    As he monitored the news about Wuhan in China Rob Wallace was an evolutionary biologist at the University of Minnesota until he blew the whistle on industrial agriculture’s role in transmitting diseases. The Obama Administration cut funding to the lab in Wuhan after teams from Australia, the US and China discovered this novel coronavirus strain in 2015 but today deaths from the Trump Virus have surpassed the number of people killed in the US by the so-called Spanish Flu in 1918.

  6. cibvet 2021-09-23

    These are not “high risk patients”. These are anti vac patients who made THEIR FREEDOM CHOICE. The monoclonal antibody treatments should be priority for the vaccinated, if needed, and the unvaccinated moved to the morgue if the space is needed for every day treatment that the hospitals normally provide. There is a price for irrationality.

  7. Donald Pay 2021-09-23

    cibvet has it right. I don’t think we should reward irresponsible behavior with a hospital stay. But I wouldn’t just have them roaming free, either. We need to isolate those folks in hotels, and charge them for it. If they die in isolation, die quickly, please.

  8. Mark Anderson 2021-09-23

    Well in Florida an anti vaxers wife contacted about 169 or so hospitals to get him an ECMO treatment. He was at the end, CNN put her on , a doctor in Connecticut saw it contacted her, he was flown up, yeah success. They both now believe in the vaccine after how many millions of dollars of treatment? Of course the patient says he turned to God. In Tennessee they only have approval to treat the unvaccinated with monoclonal treatment. It’s an upside down world with the unvaccinated idiots dying all over the place and costing all of us billions of dollars while suing for horse medicine. At least they won’t have worms, but will continue to feed them.

  9. Loren 2021-09-23

    All of Kristi’s talk about “personal responsibility,” how about if you show up at a clinic/hospital wanting/needing the anti-body treatment, you show your “personal responsibility document” (vax record) first? No personal responsibility, go to the end of the line. Quit wasting our time and resources with your stupidity!

  10. Nick Nemec 2021-09-23

    And yet Noem does damn little to encourage vaccination. She has been AWOL during this pandemic, she is afraid of the anti-vax right.

  11. Jake 2021-09-23

    “Meth-we’re on it!” New governor-WE’RE ON IT!

  12. O 2021-09-23

    Nick, I’m not sure it is so much afraid of the anti-vax right as much as being in a constant state of trying to appeal to them. It seems to be the case that when the MAGA crowd gets moving in a direction on an issue, Governor Noem is right in the middle trying to push up to the front.

  13. ArloBlundt 2021-09-23

    Well…you are correct O, She is a political opportunist if there ever was one.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-23

    Eve mentions death panels. She identifies another spectacular example of Republican projection, where Republicans accuse Democrats of seeking the horrible outcomes that Republicans won’t admit are the empirically proven outcomes of their own policies and philosophies.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-23

    Uh, John D? Rationing only happens because there is a shortage. Noem leads people to believe they don’t need to get their shots and just rely on treatment after they get sick. Noem’s leadership leads to more sickness and demand for treatment that exceeds supply.

  16. Jake 2021-09-23

    Yep, real smart people over there on the “non-vax” side aren’t they? Refuse a free shot in place of getting sick with Covid, go into emergency care (if it’s not full already with other of your ilk) and go thru the treatment that might cost the average US figures $10,000 to $43,000 per case.

    Now, insurance companies are finally starting to take note and raising prices/deductibles.

    Yep, smart people.

  17. O 2021-09-23

    Jake, I feel a Glen Beck-level conspiracy moment brewing: 1) GOP gets their flock to not get vaccinated, 2) that drives up health care costs 3) insurance companies have to respond, 4) the ACA policies get caught in the washout and BOOM!! The GOP has finally toppled the ACA. All they had to do was kill 6,000+ people and collapse the health care and insurance industries to do it. Fortunately those industries will get a bailout for being too big (of a donor) to fail. (Which will be immediately followed up with a threat to not raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats take the fall for it.)

  18. larry kurtz 2021-09-24

    Few policymakers dispute the reasons educated people are fleeing my home state of South Dakota.

    The state’s governor is a reactionary cracker. Infrastructure is crumbling. Industrial agriculture is smothering wildlife habitat. Churches are girding for gun violence. Meth has replaced alcohol as the state’s drug of choice. Pierre’s culture of corruption and attacks on kids have ended open government. Native wildlife are being exterminated to make way for disease-ridden domestic livestock and exotic fowl. Jails far outnumber colleges. Bankers continue to enslave landowners and the state’s medical industry triopoly operates without scrutiny.

    Yet, South Dakota is most lucrative state to practice medicine so why isn’t there a regulatory body like the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to regulate medical care costs? Because the state is a corporatist tax haven for an exclusive set of Republicans while over $3 trillion languishes in South Dakota banks.

    Any registered nurse with at least half a brain will leave for Minnesota, Colorado or the Southwest the instant they graduate so the work force in South Dakota just gets stupider and more Republican. The only worse state for nurses to work is Alabama. In fact, 21 of the bottom feeder states are all red and the best paid nurses work in blue states!

    $40,000 is the median cost for hospitalization with a Covid diagnosis.

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