This community opinion was contributed by resident and retired pharmacist Mary Zanger. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
I humbly submit further understanding about this amazing COVID-19 vaccine. This new vaccine is a medical breakthrough similar to the polio vaccine that was a breakthrough in the past. When mass polio vaccinations came to San Benito County in 1955, I, as a pharmacist, volunteered to administer the vaccine to lines of everyone in the only building large enough for the crowds, the Veterans Memorial Building on San Benito Street. At that time no negative or opposing information existed. Polio was a scourge and everyone wanted protection against it.
Similarly then Dr. Jonas Salk had to leapfrog prevailing medical knowledge at the time. Viral diseases like pwolio stymied medical science about anti-viral vaccines, but not Dr. Jonas Salk. Similarly, this new MRNA vaccine for COVID-19 leapfrogs further because of years of government funded research into gene mapping and is coming soon to San Benito County.
Now is the time to explain the “trick.” Instead of starting with the whole viral structure this vaccine takes a single protein, the one responsible for the corona spikes. Using a single protein is another revolutionary idea that again transforms medical knowledge. The vaccine name identifies the protein, Messenger RNA.
When this corona MRNA vaccine is injected it invades host cells and instructs them to make the viral corona spikes. Remember the spikes are not the disease, they are like a fake costume with nothing underneath. But once inside our body these spikes shock our immune cells into battle. Our immune cells regard these phony invaders as the real thing and start making antibodies that will inactivate the whole corona irus and provide us with the protection we need. The second shot strengthens and lengthens immunity for this COVID-19 and ends this plague.
The Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna are true MRNA vaccines. Those will be administered when more vaccinations begin in San Benito County. I plan to volunteer as the goal is to immunize everyone. Herd immunity can only be achieved through mass immunizations.
Currently the Public Health Department of San Benito County has a vaccination hotline to call for registration, (831) 636-4113. Those over 65 will be in the next phase.