NORTHERN UTAH (ABC4) – A northern Utah hospital is now offering monoclonal antibody infusion treatment for COVID-19 patients. Providing the new treatment has health officials both excited to help those with COVID-19 heal, but also worried that it will prevent some people from getting vaccinated.
“What we do know is we have good treatments,” Davis County Health Director Brian Hatch Told ABC4. During the current wave of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Davis County the future is uncertain. However, health officials are excited about immerging treatments. “That end result of mortality or death, you know what, it’s been low,” Hatch added. As more treatments are made available, officials believe the death rate will continue to decrease.
At the Davis Hospital and Medical Center, monoclonal antibody infusions are now available for COVID-19 patients. Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Chris Johnson explained, “And that’s only one tool in our arsenal to be able to help people.”
Johnson said they are excited to have the new tool in the fight against the illness at the hospital, but it also worries them. He added. “What I think is concerning is that a lot of people think it’s okay not to be vaccinated because we can just go and get that particular infusion.”
Even with new treatments and increased vaccination rates, Davis County is seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. “The concern right now is the lack of beds available and staffing to keep up with those,” Hatch said. He told ABC4 the majority of new hospitalizations are non-vaccinated individuals.
The new treatments, like monoclonal antibody infusions, help patients get well quicker. The Food and Drug Administration says this particular treatment works by using “laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses.”
While these treatments help those sick with COVID-19 recover, they don’t necessarily prevent hospitals from filling up. “It isn’t the answer,” Johnson said. “The answer is to truly become vaccinated.”
Johnson explained that getting vaccinated isn’t just about keeping one person healthy. It’s about the greater population. He stated, “The choices they make truly do make a bigger impact. The ripples certainly affect our community because of the choices they make.”
In Davis County, about 30 percent of the eligible population is still unvaccinated against COVID-19.