Vaccination rates in some parts of rural Platte County ‘dangerously low’
he COVID case rate within Platte County is higher now than it was last year at this time, local health officials said this week.
Platte County also reported three deaths due to COVID-19 during the month of June and three more thus far in July.
All six were unvaccinated persons, according to the health department.
The residents who died in June were in their 30s, 60s and 80s, respectively, according to the Platte County Health Department. Ages of the July deaths were not available as of Landmark deadline.
“This past week our case rates have risen to a high point of 117 cases/100,000 residents in a seven day period, which puts us in the CDC’s “Red Zone” for high transmission,” said Erin Sanders, epidemiology specialist for the Platte County Health Department, in an email.
“This is a higher case rate than we saw at this same time last July,” Sanders remarked.
Sanders explained that Missouri is currently one of the hottest spots in the nation for COVID-19 cases, with case rates in southwest Missouri climbing as high as over 500 cases/100,000 population in a week.
“This wave is being driven by the Delta variant and low vaccination rates, and that is what is hitting us now in the KC Metro,” she stated.
What’s the best thing for residents to keep in mind at this time?
“The best thing you can do to protect yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated for COVID-19,” she said.
Dan Luebbert, deputy director of the Platte County Health Department, told The Landmark: “The good news is that Platte County’s overall vaccination rate is high compared to other Missouri counties,” but that the overall rate in Missouri is low compared to other states.
“The important issue in all of this, though, is the fact that vaccination rates in the more rural parts of Platte County are dangerously low,” Luebbert said. “When fewer people are vaccinated, the COVID-19 virus and all of its variants have many more opportunities to find suitable hosts.”
Luebbert added “the fact is that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 greatly reduces the chances of you and your family getting seriously ill with the virus.”
Getting into the technical workings of the vaccine, Luebbert noted:
“The mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna, are simply nanoparticles encased in fat in a saline solution. The fat attaches to cells near the injection site, allowing the nanoparticles to enter the cells. The nanoparticles do not enter the nucleus. The vaccine does not change your DNA . It has absolutely nothing to do with your DNA,” Luebbert said.
“The nanoparticles provide an ‘instruction manual’ for the cells, which use the instructions to create spike protein particles like those found on coronaviruses. The immune system recognizes the spike protein particles as invaders and goes to work to destroy them. The immune system then remembers the spike proteins and how to respond to them. The next time that protein enters your body, for such as a protein spike on a COVID-19 virus, the immune system knows what to do and begins to attack the virus immediately,” he added.
If you’re not fully vaccinated, Sanders advises “the second-best thing you can do is wear your mask.”
All of Platte County’s COVID-19 numbers are updated every Tuesday in the dashboard on the health department’s website, which you can find here: plattecountyhealthdept.com/emergency.aspx.