Today, UPMC discussed the plans to effectively and equitably administer the new AstraZeneca Evusheld to eligible patients. This two-drug product using monoclonal antibodies is authorized now for people whose conditions make them exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.
Evusheld is the only product that helps prevent COVID-19 prior to an exposure, receiving an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration earlier in December. The antibody medication is given via two injections, one into the muscle of each arm.
Evusheld began shipping out limited supplies to U.S. health care providers this week. UPMC administered its first doses to eligible patients on Thursday.
Dr. Erin McCreary, director of antimicrobial stewardship innovation and an infectious diseases pharmacist at UPMC, explained how UPMC used sophisticated data analytics to devise a system to determine who gets offered Evusheld first – with equity being a top priority.
She noted that certain populations have a higher burden from COVID-19, so UPMC’s system will give greater weight to patients who live in areas that are federally designated as disadvantaged neighborhoods.
UPMC has at least 80,000 patients who would qualify under the EUA. Those patients will be divided into three groups based on the likelihood of those patients mounting a weak response to vaccination, informed by the UPMC CoVICS study. UPMC coordinators will contact eligible patients who are allocated medication in the lottery to discuss the antibody medication and set up their appointments.
Across the system, UPMC expects to get very limited shipments of Evusheld, which is only authorized for use in people 12 years or older weighing at least 88 pounds who have moderately to severely compromised immune systems due to a medical condition or treatment and are not currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 nor have a known exposure to the virus.
McCreary stressed that UPMC will be transparent and equitable when distibuting available doses. At the current supply rate, it will likely take months to give this medication to all eligible patients due to supply constraints.
“No matter where you live, UPMC is committed to offer you Evusheld if you are eligible to receive it as soon as we are able” said McCreary.