In a letter to President Joe Biden, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) suggested last week there needs to be more incentive to get vaccinated instead of prioritizing unvaccinated people for monoclonal antibody treatment.
This comes after the federal government changed the way COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments are distributed in the United States. The decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services is the result of supply shortages and high demand for treatments across the country. Health care providers are no longer able to order the treatments directly.
Cohen’s letter reads, “I am writing to request that your administration take action to ensure that monoclonal antibodies are more readily available for patients with COVID-19. I also urge the National Institute of Health (NIH) to reconsider the prioritization of the treatment to people who have chosen to not get vaccinated over vaccinated individuals with other comorbidities.”
Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) shared an article about Cohen’s letter on Twitter, writing, “All Tennesseans have the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness… and the freedom to say dumb things.”
Blackburn’s criticism of Cohen’s letter stems from her own opposing stance on the issue.
For example, on Tuesday, Senator Blackburn along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) introduced the Treatment Restoration for Emergency Antibody Therapeutics (TREAT) Act which would prohibit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from implementing policies that restrict hospitals and other appropriate healthcare facilities from ordering and receiving COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments directly from manufacturers and distributors.
Last week, Blackburn also told FOX 17 that she’s requested a formal briefing from the Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) on how monoclonal antibodies are being allocated to states. Blackburn said the federal government’s new monoclonal antibody treatment protocol “amounts to playing politics with life and death.”
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Marsha Blackburn” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “Steve Cohen” by Steve Cohen. Background Photo “National Institutes of Health” by National Institutes of Health (NIH).