DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – A Del City immunocompromised man said he’s wanting to get back to normal life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. His plan is to get his hands a special new monoclonal antibody medicine designed to help people like him fight the virus. However, he told KFOR he’s not getting any answers on where to turn.
“This drug, for me, is almost signing life or death,” said Joe Bates.
Bates has been cooped up in his Del City home, protecting himself against COVID-19.
The 36-year-old received a kidney transplant from his mother 17 years ago. Since then, he’s been taking medicine to stop his body from rejecting the vital organ.
“They suppress my immune system,” he told KFOR. “I will have to take those for the rest of my life.”
Bates said that’s why all three COVID-19 vaccines aren’t enough to protect him. However, he has had both vaccines as well as a booster.
On Dec. 8, the 36-year-old said he found hope, after the FDA approved AstraZeneca’s special drug, Evusheld, for emergency use. It is a two-drug monoclonal antibody cocktail for high-risk patients who have not been infected with COVID.
“It provides six months of true antibody protection,” Bates said.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Oklahoma is set to receive 576 Evusheld doses.
Before the News Year’s holiday, News 4 reached out to the Oklahoma Health Department to ask about the antibody drug.
“Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for AstraZeneca’s pre-exposure prophylaxis injection Evusheld (tixagevimab/cilgavimab) for prevention of COVID-19 in certain adults and pediatric individuals, Oklahoma anticipates receiving an initial supply in the coming weeks,” stated Michael DeRemer, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response Service. “Nine facilities across the state will receive the initial supply of 576 doses to be divided among the facilities, and were selected on their ability to treat immunocompromised patients, population, social vulnerability and insurance coverage. We are receiving information daily and will be providing updates on our website as we know more.”
Working ahead, Bates said he’s searching for a dose, but running into dead ends.
“I contacted my doctor that handled my case, and they don’t offer that at this time,” said Bates. “I contacted my M.D. They have not gotten back to me. Contacted the health department. It was a very generic response.”
If he could get the Evusheld infusion, Bates said his cautious and closed-off life would change.
“It may be enough for me where I can go see my family normally,” he said. “I’ve missed about two years of their life.”
So far, there’s no word when the drug will be available for immunocompromised Oklahomans. However, Bates said he is not giving up.
“Failure is not an option when it comes to this drug,” said Bates. “I’ll do everything in my power to get this.”
Sunday, KFOR reached back out to the State Health Department to see if there were any new updates. So far, we have not heard back.