UPMC begins administering COVID-19 prevention treatment, supply limited

Health

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — UPMC has started to administer a treatment that prevents COVID-19 infection, but its supply is extremely limited.

AstraZeneca’s Evusheld was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. UPMC received about 1/4 of the supply of the monoclonal antibody cocktail Pennsylvania received.

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The medical system is focusing on the immunocompromised. People who are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 like cancer patients or organ transplant recipients, who may not get enough virus protection from vaccines and boosters will receive the treatment first.

Around 13,000 patients meet those requirements in the UPMC system but it only received enough for 456 patients.

UPMC created a lottery system to determine who will get the treatment first at several of its locations across the state including in Harrisburg.

“First come, first serve is not ethical because people who have more access to health care would come to you first. So you are disadvantaging your patients who have less access to care who could be the sickest of the sickest from our more disadvantaged communities,” said Erin McCreary, Pharm.D., director of antimicrobial stewardship innovation, and infectious diseases pharmacist, UPMC.

Patients are given two doses of Evusheld, one in each arm.

UPMC will contact patients who are qualified to schedule when they can receive the treatment. It asks that people do not call.

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