HHS Is Reducing Regeneron Allotment To Texas Impacting Ellis County

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nurses with regeneron
Photo credit City of Ferris

On September 9, 2021 the FDA revised the emergency use authorization (EUA) for REGEN-COV also known as Regeneron, authorizing REGEN-COV for emergency use as post-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) for COVID-19 in adults and pediatric individuals (12 years of age and older) who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

However, Regeneron is not authorized for pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent COVID-19 before being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, only after exposure to the virus. Furthermore, the FDA points out that Prophylaxis/prevention with Regeneron is not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19.

Ellis County Judge Todd Little is a big advocate for the monoclonal antibodies after he and his wife received them during a recent bout with COVID-19.  He recently told Rita Cook, “It made a huge difference in our symptoms and recovery. It reduces hospitalizations by 75-80% of people who receive infusion.”

 

From City of Ferris DATE: September 15, 2021 @ 8:45 pm**

The Federal Health and Human Services (HHS) department changed the process for ordering Regeneron (the antibody treatment). Our partner operating the City of Ferris and Ellis County Joint Antibody Center can no longer order the drug directly from the distributor.

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) stated HHS is reducing the supply of Regeneron allocated to Texas. The entire State of Texas is receiving only 21,000 doses next week. This reduction will likely cause the Antibody Center to limit the number of people it serves and we will not be able to service walk-up patients until further notice. We are currently working diligently to secure as much Regeneron as possible, as soon as possible. Please know we are disgusted with the choice of the federal government to do this and we are working all avenues to obtain the Regeneron.

*According to a report by CNN, seven states including Texas — Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana account for 70% of Regeneron orders.

Due to what HHS felt was a disproportionate distribution of the monoclonal antibodies, they have changed the way they are allocated.
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From the City Manager for the City of Ferris:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 10, 2021 (Ferris, Texas) The City of Ferris, like so many other cities, is fighting the rise in COVID numbers and our local hospitals, local physicians, City operations, and educational institutions are being pushed to their limits. With our underserved population, we are especially vulnerable to the rise in cases.

Beginning Monday, September 13, 2021 – we are launching an initiative in a effort to turn that tide.

With our COVID relief funds, we will be directing approximately $180,000.00 towards the initiative below. We were able to obtain this opportunity through relationships established prior to the pandemic and this is a great opportunity for both the City of Ferris and Ellis County. We are proud that Ferris is leading the way and putting our money where our mouth is on concern for our citizens and living one of core values of, “People First”. This is an opportunity that is not being widely seen across the State of Texas and we are grateful to have this opportunity.

This will be a “pop-up” monoclonal antibody therapy center that will treat area residents who have contracted COVID.

Those in the City of Ferris and/or Ellis County will be able to receive the antibody therapy treatment free of charge at the center set up at the “Scout House” (address on flyer). You do NOT have to have health insurance to receive treatment.

The therapy is for those with COVID who are within the first 10 days of showing symptoms.

The specific name of the drug is Regeneron and a study was conducted that showed the risk of hospitalization is reduced by 70% if the patient takes the drug. Patients will be receiving therapy injection of the antibodies. Antibodies are what your immune system typically produces on its own in response to an illness you’ve had in the past. If your body recognizes the illness, it will produce antibodies to neutralize that bacteria or virus so that it cannot infect your cells. If you haven’t been vaccinated against COVID (or had COVID previously), your body is not producing any antibodies to attack the virus. If you’ve had the vaccine or virus, you are producing some antibodies and this therapy treatment injects additional antibodies to assist in neutralizing the virus.

Multiple studies by Regeneron and other health systems showed significant success in terms of the effectiveness of the monoclonal antibody therapy. Those who receive the treatment, typically within 24-48 hours are nearly cleared of the virus. There are those who continue to develop symptoms and need to be admitted to the hospital, but it is reduced significantly by 70%.

Those interested in receiving the antibody therapy treatment can register for an appointment at mdlabtx.com and walk-ins are also welcomed/encouraged. No prescription is required. Although the treatment is open to everyone, Ellis County and City of Ferris residents will get priority if slots are limited.

This therapy center is being hosted by the City of Ferris and Ellis County. While the city and county continue to work with the state, this is very much a local effort brought about through the recommendations and support from City Manager Brooks Williams and Ellis County Judge Todd Little. Ellis County Emergency Management and City of Ferris leadership will spearhead coordination of the effort with the MDLABTX team, local physicians, local hospitals, and the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

The idea for a therapy center came about as a response to the rising number of active COVID cases in the county brought about by the Delta variant, which were beginning to overwhelm local hospitals. Another factor was the fact that there are currently only five state-funded therapy treatment sites, the closest to Ferris being a site in Fort Worth.
The desire was to figure out a way we could continue to care well for our community, reduce COVID in our community and properly treat those who do have COVID when we’re having a lack of availability in ICU beds.

We looked at a lot of different options, but the option we felt was the most viable was monoclonal antibody therapy. One of our driving forces is to reduce exposure time between a positive parent and kids that will end up in FISD classrooms and classrooms across Ellis County.

The antibody therapy treatment drug will be received through the state, and we will be requesting doses to administer at the pop-up therapy center this week. The center will operate daily and supply of the drug from the state will dictate the number of doses that are administered. Currently, the goal is to administer 60-80 each day. Currently, area hospitals in Ellis County can only administer approximately 30 doses daily. This site will instantly add significant capacity.

The City engaged local, state and federal leaders to assist in this effort and would like to thank: Ellis County Emergency Management, Ellis County Judge Todd Little, State Representative Carl O. Sherman, Congressman Jake Ellzey, and Senator Bob Hall for their efforts and support.

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