Is Race a Qualifier for Monoclonal Antibody Treatments in Texas?

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

We’ve seen some high profile people like Joe Rogan tout the benefits of monoclonal antibody treatment.

Some have been raising a question over the past day or so about the criteria it takes to get the treatment for COVID, after reports that treatment facilities allegedly were using race as one possible qualifier to get the treatment in Texas. One report allegedly involved the Texas Health and Human Services Infusion Hotline.

The reason is that some medical facilities are making being Hispanic/black as one of the things that qualifies you to get the monoclonal antibody treatment. Here’s a list from one medical center in Texas of what other criteria might qualify you to get the treatment. You would have to have at least one of them. “Latin X or Black” is one possible thing that would enable you to get the treatment at this clinic.

Now, the reason some places are doing that is because black and Hispanic people are reportedly at higher risk. But according to the Mayo Clinic, while there’s no evidence that people of color have genetic or other biological factors that make them more likely to be affected by COVID-19, they are more likely to have underlying health conditions that can be problematic for COVID such as type 2 diabetes. So, why is the race listed as a criterion, rather than the underlying health conditions that would make COVID more problematic?

Obviously it should be prescribed based on those most at risk and in need, if there were any restrictions at all.

But why is there any need to have restrictive criteria at all? In other words, why isn’t it available to everyone whose doctor believes a person should have it, since it’s mass-produced, according to that same medical center in Texas. If it can be mass-produced, why don’t we just have it for anyone whose doctor says they need it? Especially when it appears to be so effective from the people who have been treated with it.

As we saw in September, Biden cut back on the monoclonal antibody treatment that had been shipped out to some of the states, including in Florida, saying he wanted to have “equitable distribution.” How very socialistic. Of course states needed it at different rates, but Biden wasn’t distributing it based on need. So who knows how many people may have been hurt by that move, right when what he probably should have been doing is ramping up the supply even more.

In response, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just arranged to buy more for Floridians and chastised Biden for his actions. He also scolded Biden for going back on his promise to send 50 percent more to the state.

But that Delta variant surge has slowed, so why isn’t it generally available for anyone whose doctor wants to prescribe it? Having this restrictive criteria doesn’t sound like “following the science” at all.

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