Chance for Tucsonans to receive COVID-19 vaccine immediately

Enrolling candidates from diverse groups
Posted at 8:21 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 23:26:16-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — It's an opportunity for Tucsonans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine without waiting months.

The same Tucson clinic recognized by Dr. Anthony Fauci for its participation in Moderna's phase three trial is now enrolling participants in a trial for Johnson & Johnson.

"We've been added on as what's called a rescue site," said Dr. Jack McGettigan, the founder of Quality of Life Medical and Research Center in Tucson.

His clinic was used in the phase three trials for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine. It became one of the top sites for the trial and enrolled more than 1,000 participants.

"You can sit at home and watch the news and worry or you can do something about it," said Dr. McGettigan. "It's nice that a lot of Tucsonans want to do something about it."

About 40% of those enrolled in the QLMC Moderna study are from diverse ethnic groups.

Dr. McGettigan is asking Tucsonans to step up once again.

KGUN 9 has confirmed, this new trial for Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, is seeking the same type of participation.

Johnson & Johnson needs to quickly enroll minority candidates to avoid falling further behind Moderna and Pfizer, who could get emergency approval of their vaccine this week.

Unlike the Moderna trial where participants receive two doses, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just one dose.

"Two weeks after you get the injection, hopefully you have antibodies that are going to help protect you," said Dr. McGettigan. "If it's anywhere close to what the other two have shown so far, it's going to be really beneficial."

Just like the Moderna trial, half of all participants will receive the vaccine and the other half will receive the placebo.

"If somebody really wants the vaccine, when you come into the study, you've got a 50-50 chance of getting it," said Dr. McGettigan. "However, when the vaccine is approved, then you probably have a 100% chance of getting it sooner than everybody else."

Volunteers who are of a diverse background are asked to call 520-731-2333. Enrollment will only last through Dec. 11.