Update: On October 6, 2021 Anchorage Mayor David Bronson issued a press release which stated WEKA Medical would stand up a new treatment center that will provide vaccinations, testing and monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments at the Golden Lion Hotel.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic appeared on the international stage, conspiracy theories have also appeared, becoming synonymous with a virus that has now claimed the lives of over 680,000 Americans and approximately 4 million others throughout the world. Many of us have heard some of these COVID-related conspiracy theories which claim that the COVID-19 vaccine is an experimental poisonous bioweapon, created to reduce the world’s population.
Indeed, Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has referred to the COVID-19 vaccine as “experimental,” citing it as one reason he chose not to get vaccinated against the virus before the Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer vaccine. Even now, he refuses to take the shot.
Lately, he has touted the benefits of “experimental” monoclonal antibody treatments, which have been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. The treatment is authorized for people who are considered “high risk” under U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for severe COVID-19 illness, who either test positive or are deemed to be a close contact of someone who tested positive for the virus.
Medical experts say that monoclonal antibodies can be beneficial, but prevention of any disease is always better than treatment. Vaccinations against COVID-19 is the first line of defense against COVID and monoclonal antibodies are recommended to be used for breakthrough cases or for individuals who are not eligible for the vaccine. This course of action provides the most benefit for patients and lessens the strain on our healthcare system.
Vaccines protect the people who receive them and protect others by reducing infection and transmission rates. Monoclonal antibodies are used as a way to manage Covid after it has been contracted and possibly spread throughout a community. Relying solely on monoclonal antibodies allows people to turn a blind eye to the consequences of their behavior for others.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many went into the “COVID business.” An intriguing entity in Anchorage is security company WEKA LLC that jumped into the business of providing moncolonal antibody therapy treatment. Monoclonal antibody treatment is very much promoted in the “Save Anchorage” Facebook group, which backed David Bronson’s mayoral campaign.
The medical community was grateful that someone could provide this service, which was largely unavailable in medical facilities due to the requirement to have clinical observation during the infusion which would have taken up valuable nursing staff. Healthcare professionals asked very few questions and were just happy to have somewhere to send their patients.
When the COVID-19 vaccine appeared on the scene it was seen as a solution to the increasing number of hospitalizations being seen in the state — a safe, now FDA approved, vaccine that could nearly eliminate hospitalization in healthy patients and prevent most people from becoming symptomatic if they ever had a COVID infection at all. The COVID vaccine and the timing of its availability was nothing short of a miracle.
But Mayor Bronson has refused to do anything more than suggest that individuals talk to their doctors about ‘potentially’ getting the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and reportedly, Mayor Bronson worked with the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and private providers to stand up access to two monoclonal antibody treatment sites.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Bronson in the few months since he became mayor, it’s that if you follow the money, it will take you wherever you want to go.
Remembering that WEKA LLC jumped into the business of providing moncolonal antibody therapy treatment, and looking at reports generated from the Alaska Public Offices Commission website — Todd Herring and his wife Crystal, and through five of their various businesses, have donated substantially to both Mayor Bronson’s campaign and a pro-Bronson Independent Expenditure group.
“Open for Business Anchorage,” chaired by Bronson supporter Paul Berger, was previously named “Open for Business Bronson” and participated in the Anchorage Mayoral Runoff Election.
The pro-Bronson IE group is working to recall Assembly member Meg Zaletel and is now the subject of an APOC complaint filed against it by Paula DeLaiarro.
Perhaps interestingly, Mayor Bronson has spent time touting the benefits of monoclonal antibodies. Just yesterday, in a Facebook post, Mayor Bronson once again mentioned monoclonal antibodies — even placing the experimental treatment ahead of what he ultimately referred to as “and vaccinations.” Mayor Bronson’s placing the word “vaccinations” at the tail end of his sentence is a right-wing slight against the number one tool Alaskans have at their disposal to fight COVID — the COVID-19 vaccine.
The cost of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies two-drug cocktail is approximately $1,250-$2,100 which the federal government currently covers. Compare that price to the cost of a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine which is about $20. Hospitals and infusion centers also charge for the time and administration of monoclonal antibody treatment. Medicare has reportedly agreed to pay providers between $310 and $450 for performing it in health care settings and $750 for treatment in a patient’s home.
Mayor Bronson has stopped short of telling people not to get the vaccine, but has never issued a full-throated endorsement of the tool available that could defeat the virus; instead opting to tout a treatment in place of the vaccine which prevents infection in the first place.
One might wonder what Mayor Bronson’s motivation might be to continually recommend monoclonal antibodies to his conspiracy theory laden supporters, who continually refer to the safe COVID-19 vaccine as the “poison jab.”
I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with generating profit for his donors and those who donate to certain Independent Expenditure groups that actively seek to unseat a democratically elected Progressive member of the Anchorage Assembly. Of course, it could also be that Mayor Bronson’s focus on monoclonal antibodies is an attempt to keep his anti-vax supporters alive — after all he only won the mayoral election by 1193 votes.
I’m going with a little of both.
This post has been updated with additional information