Eastland County COVID-19 Update, August 8, 2021

The following is the report for Eastland County that includes positives from Eastland Memorial Hospital and two Eastland Clinics:

  1. Number of positive cases since July 29, 2021: 41
  2. Number still in quarantine: 38 (after today)

Over the past several weeks, I have been asked many questions about the vaccine. Many have been hesitant due to concerns over the newness of the vaccine. The Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines are mRNA (messenger RNA) technology. The study of and the use of mRNA is over 30 years old. It has been used in other vaccines and there have been studies in Flu, Zika, SARS, CMV vaccines.

What is mRNA? MRNA is the single strain nucleic acid that carries the blueprint for proteins from DNA in the nucleus to the Ribosomes in the cytoplasm. The mRNA is then utilized to make proteins. Nearly all cells including human cells use mRNA. Once it has done the job, it is degraded by the cell. Its job is to make protein.

The study of RNA and mRNA has been going on for years, that is why the vaccine using this technology was able to be produced in a short period of time. The sequencing code for the COVID-19 was done in labs at universities that have the capabilities of doing gene sequencing. Once that was done, the scientists could determine which of the segments of RNA would code for the spikes on the virus. (Remember that all genetic code only has four base pairs: Adenine (A) cytosine (C) Guanine (G) and thymine (T)) From these four molecules, we have billions and billions of possibilities for making the blueprints for proteins. So once the sequence was ascertained, then they were able to produce mRNA sequences that only will code for the spike proteins. Now, all this sounds amazing, the scientists who worked on this for the vaccine have been doing this research for over 30 years. They had the equipment and the knowledge to make this happen in a very short period of time.

Now once, the mRNA segments are produced they are made into a vaccine. After we are vaccinated, the mRNA is picked up by our cells, into the cytoplasm where the ribosomes begin making the spikes. Once that occurs, our immune system begins to produce humeral (antibodies) and cellular responses that will be our defense against the virus.

Two things to remember:

  1. Since mRNA cannot enter the nucleus, it cannot affect our DNA and therefor cannot make any changes in our DNA. The mRNA has no ability to enter the nucleus
  2. It only codes for the spikes, it cannot produce a full COVID virus. Just in the same way that if you are given the blueprints for a front porch, you cannot build the whole house.

We have all heard about people who have had side effects. Most have no problems after getting the vaccine, some will have mild symptoms due to our immune reaction. The vaccine is over 92 % effective which is amazing. Also, overwhelmingly the admits to the hospitals and to ICUs in the past several weeks have been unvaccinated individuals.

Enclosed are some very interesting sites to read about mRNA and vaccines. Please be safe, get vaccinated, and wear face masks. We need to turn this around quickly. School is starting and the children under 12 are very vulnerable to this virus.

Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines ~ CDC

The Science and Fundamentals of mRNA Technology ~ Moderna