New COVID-19 treatment for immunocompromised in Tampa

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 23:15:26-05

TAMPA, Fla — Think back to late 2020 and the relief so many felt when the first COVID-19 vaccines were shipped out.

"This is a group who really hasn't had what they need to date," said Tampa General Hospital's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Peggy Duggan.

It's a feeling many with suppressed or compromised immune systems couldn't quite share because the current vaccines don't work as well in their bodies.

"Many of them don't get the response, the antibody response. So they're a group of people who continue to be at risk," said Dr. Duggan.

They're people like Patrick Nielsen. A Tampa Bay area man, who got a kidney transplant in 2020.

"When I first got my Pfizer, I got the first shot and I got the second, and then a couple of months later I got tested to see how my antibodies were and I didn't really have any antibodies, it was very minimal of anything," said Nielsen.

But tonight, there's finally some relief. After Tampa General Hospital got its first shipment of Evusheld. It's an antibody shot...designed specifically for people like Nielsen, whose immune systems need a bit more help with COVID-19 immunity.


"This will be a great opportunity for us to limit the risk of getting omicron to those patients," said Dr. Duggan.

According to Dr. Duggan, this treatment is for the immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, who are 12-years and older and who haven't had a bad reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine or others like it. But she adds that you can't get the shot if you currently have COVID-19.

"People who aren't vaccinated or people who don't have an immune reaction to the vaccine, those are the people who are at risk of serious illness," said Dr. Duggan.

Supply is limited right now and Dr. Duggan says they'll be prioritizing the most vulnerable. But if you'd like the treatment, your best bet is to ask.

"The most important thing I always tell people is to talk to your doctor," Dr. Duggan.

It's something Nielsen says he's going to do.

"I'm going to bring it up to my doctor. But what I have to do first is see how my antibodies are after getting the booster," said Nielsen.