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Tucson makes up largest group of COVID-19 vaccine trial participants in Moderna study

1 in 30 participants in Moderna trial in Tucson
Posted at 4:36 PM, Oct 21, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. — Enrollment ends on October 23rd, for the COVID-19 vaccine trial in Tucson.

Moderna has reached its goal of 30,000 participants across nearly 100 clinics nationwide.

The trial clinic in Tucson, Quality of Life Medical and Research Center, has enrolled more than 900 participants. That means nearly one in every 30 trial participants for Moderna is in southern Arizona.

"We have been one of the top enrolling sites throughout the U.S.," said Dr. Jack McGettigan, clinic owner and prinicpal investigator for the vaccine trial "I am told right now we're projected to be the number one site, which is thanks to Tucson and the staff I've got. Just amazing work."

Dr. McGettigan's staff has been working seven days a week since July 31st, to enroll those 900 plus participants including KGUN 9's Pat Parris.

He already received both doses of the vaccine 28 days apart.

Dr. McGettigan says front line workers and first responders have been a large part of the trial in Southern Arizona.

"We just by nature are there to help," Dr. McGettigan said. "As a lot of people say, they'd rather be part of the solution than the problem."

The CDC and Moderna have put an emphasis on minority participation in the vaccine trial.

While Moderna's website shows 36% of participants are from diverse communities.

The Tucson portion of the trial has been significantly higher.

"I think we've been running closer to 40% of minorities in our group," said Dr. McGettigan. "It just keeps going up."

Dr. McGettigan said weekly conference calls on the trial that have included Dr. Anthony Fauci have been encouraging.

"Very encouraging," said Dr. McGettigan. "Eluding to the fact that a vaccine within the year is very possible. And maybe within the month of November, there may be an announcement."

That's in line with what Moderna's C.E.O. told the Wall Street Journal in October.

He expects interim results in November with F.D.A. approval of an emergency use authorization in December.