The approach is likely to cut into shipments to GOP-led states in the Southeast that have made the pricey antibody drug a central part of their pandemic strategy, while simultaneously spurning mask mandates and other restrictions. That threatens to heighten tensions between the Biden administration and governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who have emerged as vocal opponents of the federal Covid-19 response.
The new policy follows Biden announcing his federal policy last week that will have the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate that private companies with 100 or more employees implement vaccine mandates or require negative tests. During his speech, the president singled out GOP governors that oppose his policies, vowing to “get them out of the way.”
“Right now, local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying in schools,” Biden said.
“If they’ll not help, if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way,” he added.
Per Politico, the Biden administration had been shipping antibody treatments to states on an “as-needed basis” until demands from seven southern states – Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama – started “consuming a disproportionate amount of the national supply.” In September alone, 70% of all antibody treatment orders were in those seven states.