Vaccine-wary Floridians line up for monoclonal antibody treatment after testing positive for virus
TAMPA, Fla. - A woman who asked FOX 13 to hide her identity says she didn't trust the COVID-19 vaccine and didn't get it.
"I think they need to do more study on it," she said.
Then she was exposed to COVID at work and is now undergoing Regeneron's monoclonal antibody therapy, a new treatment approved by the FDA under an emergency use authorization – just like the vaccine she didn't want.
"Now I have actually been exposed to COVID and it made a difference," she said.
A dose of monoclonal antibody treatment is prepared at at Fla. Dept of Health site in Tampa. (Fla. DOH photo)
Paige Higgins also came to Tampa’s new monoclonal antibody therapy site at Kings Forest Park on Friday. Higgins, who is also unvaccinated, has COVID-19 and is hoping the antibody cocktail super-charges her immune system.
"I can’t really get out of bed. I forced myself to come down to this to help my symptoms," Higgins said.
The antibody treatments are available at least eight locations statewide, with more coming soon. In the Bay Area, the Fasano Center in Pasco County and the site in Tampa are both open seven days a week and can do up to 300 treatments a day. The treatment is free and is available to anyone 12 and up.
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"So, this is mainly for individuals who are COVID positive that are in the very early days of getting that positive. However, it is also for those who are exposed to a COVID positive individual and they are extremely vulnerable or they have a high risk of getting seriously ill," said Kevin Watler, public information officer for the Florida Health Department’s Hillsborough County branch.
The treatment is said to reduce hospitalizations and death by up to 70%. The whole process can take an hour or more and involves an IV or shot shots in the body.
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Inside a monoclonal antibody treatment site in Tampa. (Fla. DOH photo)
"I would recommend getting the two shots instead of the four shots," said Higgins.
The Tampa site got so busy Friday, it reached capacity around 3 p.m. It re-opens Saturday morning.
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