Tennessee urges providers to save antibody treatments for the unvaccinated 

Tennessee is recommending that healthcare providers preserve the state's monoclonal antibody supplies for unvaccinated residents only, The Tennessean reported Sept. 21.

The recommendation is based on guidelines from the National Institutes of Health and does not apply to vaccinated people who are immunocompromised. 

"Our recommendation to monoclonal antibody providers or individual facilities across the state is if they need to prioritize distribution of the treatment, the NIH guidelines are the recommended approach for that prioritization, including prioritizing those who are most likely to be hospitalized," a spokesperson for Tennessee's health department told Becker's on Sept. 22. 

"Ultimately, this comes down to providers' clinical judgment to ensure those most at risk are receiving this treatment," the spokesperson said.

The guidelines mean vaccinated residents may now be ineligible to receive one of the most effective treatments for the virus if they develop a breakthrough infection, Tennessean reporter Brett Kelman said in a Sept. 20 tweet.

The move comes after the Biden administration took over national distribution of the antibody treatments — instead of allowing states to directly order supplies — to prevent shortages. Before this change, states with low vaccination rates, including Tennessee, were using most of the nation's supply, according to The Tennessean.  

Tennessee could not provide an update on allocation for this week, but told Becker's that providers in the state are still receiving antibody treatment supplies. 

About 44 percent of Tennessee's population was fully vaccinated as of Sept. 21.

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