JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) — The photo of a visit to a monoclonal antibody site in Jacksonville on Wednesday quickly went viral on Reddit after it was posted with the message, “Everyone please be careful - whether you are vaccinated or not. My husband (vaccinated, but positive) has been waiting 2+ hours for monoclonal therapy and he says he has never seen people so sick. Moaning, crying, unable to move.”
The monoclonal antibody site at the Jacksonville Main Library receives people infected with COVID-19 to receive the Regeneron Antibody Treatment only, without a prescription or medical referral.
About 24 hours later, the photo on Reddit had hundreds of comments, many questioning why there weren’t more places for people to sit or rest while they waited.
ABC 27 reached out to Nikki Kimbleton, the Director of Public Affairs for the City of Jacksonville, who authenticated the photo.
“The volume of patients seeking this treatment more than doubled yesterday. In order to support the State of Florida in their efforts to provide this important treatment, JFRD and COJ are providing triple the number of wheelchairs, additional seating for those waiting in line and signage that directs patients to alert someone if they need any type of assistance. We are encouraged by the increase in activity at this location because the data shows monoclonal antibody treatment is key to alleviating stress on our area hospitals. We want to thank Governor DeSantis and his team for quickly providing this treatment option to the citizens of Jacksonville,” said Kimbleton.
The Jacksonville Public Affairs Office said Toma Dean, the woman seen in the photo, contacted News4Jax, saying she’d been suffering with COVID and pneumonia for two weeks and that she’d been in and out of emergency rooms.
The Fleming Island resident said when her 16-year-old son took her to the library for treatment Wednesday, she could barely stand.
“I was bad. Very bad shape. Lightheaded. Dizzy. Shortness of breath,” she said. “I couldn’t stand at all.”
Dean said she had just left Baptist hospital, where an emergency room doctor advised her to get the monoclonal antibody treatment. With her son by her side and not a wheelchair in sight, Dean said she first sat, then laid on the floor.
Total doses given out at the Main St. location Thursday was 395.
• 8-17-21 97 Doses
• 8-18-21 143 doses
8-19-21 155 Doses
The monoclonal antibody treatment is said to be the only treatment designed to keep infected people out of the hospital.
“If you do get infected,” DeSantis said, “whether you’re vaccinated or not, clinical data and real world data shows that if you avail yourself of the monoclonal antibody treatment at the appropriate time you will reduce your chance of being hospitalized by about 70 percent.”
The FDA granted Regeneron’s treatment an emergency use authorization in November, saying it reduced COVID hospitalizations “in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment.”
DeSantis visited Jacksonville to promote the clinic, saying the Regeneron “strike teams” deployed across the state were “the best thing we can do” to reduce hospitalizations.
The clinic was originally at a Florida Department of Emergency Management trailer and was moved to the library August 16.