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Florida to receive thousands of doses of pre-exposure antibody treatment for cancer, transplant patients

Gov. Ron DeSantis in Ocala. Photo: Danielle Prieur
Gov. Ron DeSantis in Ocala. Photo: Danielle Prieur

Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida is getting thousands of doses of an antibody treatment that protects immunosuppressed people and those allergic to the COVID-19 vaccines. 

The two-shot antibody treatment called Evusheld offers about six months of protection if administered before a patient is exposed to the virus.

DeSantis says the state is making this treatment available within a two-hour driving distance of every resident in the state. 

"And the way we tried to allocate it was just say, 'Okay, can we get it within a two hour drive of everyone in the state of Florida?' It's easier to do that in some areas than others. But that's what we've been able to do. So you have some folks that are maybe in more rural areas, who can't make it next door with such a limited amount, but if you get into the car, do this, this is a pretty significant thing to do."

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Several hospitals in Central Florida will receive the treatment from the federal government including Ocala Regional Medical Center, where DeSantis made his remarks Friday.

He says those hospitals and clinics were chosen based on one characteristic: they're already administering monoclonal antibodies. 

"So initially we have a very limited allocation. It's about 3,100 doses and this initial allocation is going to go to hospitals and clinics that are already administering monoclonal antibody treatment to patients including right here in Ocala."

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The treatment received an emergency use authorization from the FDA on Wednesday.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.