UCSF Fresno offering Evusheld to prevent COVID in immunocompromised

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A potentially lifesaving COVID-19 treatment is now being offered in Fresno for those who are immunocompromised or can't be vaccinated.

Phyllis Farrow, of Fresno, was the second patient to be treated with Evusheld at UCSF Fresno.

"For me, it was really like a miracle," she said.

Farrow is back to attending in-person meetings with her Jewish non-profit, playing card games with friends, and her family is flying into Fresno in the next few weeks. Just a few months ago, none of that was possible.

In January, Farrow's doctor told her the medication she's on for multiple sclerosis got rid of her antibodies to COVID.

"So it was like I had no vaccines at all," Farrow said.

Dr. Kenny Banh, from UCSF Fresno, explained: "A certain percentage of people, the people who have some moderate to severe immunocompromised state. Basically, you give the vaccine and they are unable to amount the same immune response as your or me."

Farrow felt unsafe, despite being vaccinated and boosted. Until her doctor told her about Evusheld, which received emergency use authorization from the FDA in December of 2021.

Farrow saw UCSF Fresno was offering the treatment and immediately called to get information and make an appointment, which she said she's grateful for.

"Because I have a compromised immune system because of the medications, I don't know how I would fight COVID," she said.

According to Dr. Banh, there are around 30,000 people living in Fresno County who are eligible for the preventative treatment because they are immunocompromised or unable to get the vaccine due to medical reasons.

"It's not a replacement, but it's an addition to people getting the vaccine," he said.

Since offering it in January, they've treated fewer than 20 people. Dr. Banh would like that number to increase, especially now that things are returning to some sense of normalcy.

"Now that everyone else is not wearing masks at the supermarket, everywhere they're going, they're actually potentially, regardless of what protection they're doing, they're potentially at higher risk for contracting COVID now because they can't protect themselves from other people the way they could before," said Dr. Banh.

The free treatment is one shot initially, then a second dose at another time.

For more information, visit UCSF Fresno's COVID-19 Equity Project website.
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