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Preventing COVID-19 from Mutating and Becoming More Aggressive

Rich Egger/TSPR file photo
Lynn Van Pelt, an RN at MDH, drawing up COVID-19 vaccine on April 7, 2021.

Less than 50% of west central Illinois residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  Dr. Ed Card, Chief Medical Officer at McDonough District Hospital, said that should be a concern for everyone.

Card said in addition to preventing people from getting sick, the vaccines can also limit replication of the virus.

“We need to prevent it from being spread from person-to-person because every time that happens, it’s an opportunity for the virus to mutate,” Card said in an interview with TSPR. “And as the virus mutates and evolves, it may become more and more aggressive. So this really isn’t just about whether or not I get sick or you get sick. It’s really about protecting us all from this virus’ ability to mutate.”

He said viruses survive by mutating and evolving. He said people who do not get vaccinated are playing roulette with their lives and the lives of others by allowing for ongoing mutation of the virus.

He said concerns about the vaccines are “greatly overblown.” According to Card:

  • The vaccines will not make you magnetic (something he’s been asked about)
  • The vaccines don’t affect your DNA. “The RNA viruses are incapable of going backwards into the genome.”
  • The vaccines don’t decrease female fertility
  • Almost all reactions to vaccines occur within the first two to three weeks -- there are rarely long-term problems

“All of these (myths) have been looked at and have been shown not to be true,” Card said. “The risk of the vaccine is dramatically lower than the risks we take by not being vaccinated.”
Card urged people to look at vaccines from the public health perspective instead of politicizing them. He said he knows people who’ve had COVID and he continues to see people with the virus. “It’s real and it’s here.”

He also cautioned that the pandemic is not over. “We need to not relax at this point and not spike the ball at the five-yard line.”

He said almost every person who dies now from the COVID-19 was unvaccinated.

Vaccination Rates Around West Central Illinois

This data on vaccination rates around the region comes from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The figures are from Monday morning, July 12, 2021: 

  • Knox 44.29%
  • Fulton 43.54%
  • Cass 43.01%
  • Adams 40.55%
  • Mason 40.32%
  • Brown 39.90%
  • Schuyler 39.48%
  • McDonough 37.35%
  • Warren 36.43%
  • Hancock 30.41%
  • Henderson 21.08%

Statewide, 49.17% of the population was fully vaccinated.
Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.