‘Give me whatever’: Republican governors and vaccine hesitators who question safety and effectiveness of ‘medically proven’ shots embrace unproven antibody therapies

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference announcing a monoclonal antibody site. Credit: Andrew West/The News-Press
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference announcing a monoclonal antibody site. Credit: Andrew West/The News-Press

[A]fter she fell ill with covid last month, [Joelle Ruppert, an unvaccinated] Florida preschool teacher, found herself desperate to try an experimental product that promised to ease her symptoms: infusion with a potent laboratory-produced treatment known as monoclonal antibody therapy.

“I was in bed; I was feeling so badly, like the longest flu I ever had in my life,” said Ruppert, 54, of Gainesville. “I was, like, whatever, give me whatever.”

Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas are among leaders touting the antibody treatments even as they downplay vaccination and other measures that health officials say can prevent illness in the first place.

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Antibody cocktails, which must be given within 10 days of covid infection or exposure, are effective for many patients, but “this is not a substitute for vaccine, by any means,” said Dr. Christian Ramers…. ”It’s so much better to prevent a disease than to use an expensive, cumbersome and difficult-to-use therapy. It does not make any medical sense to lean into monoclonals to the detriment of vaccines. It’s like playing defense with no offense.”

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Related article:  Viewpoint: Just 12 people are responsible for 76% of Facebook vaccine misinformation. Should the ‘Anti-Vaxxers Disinformation Dozen’ be shut down?
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