Medical research center in Tucson played role in testing of COVID-19 vaccine

Arizona has played a big role in the testing of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, which announced on Nov. 16 that its experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective, based on preliminary data from an ongoing study.

The data compiled is made possible in part by the volunteers willing to take part in the trial, and the doctors who administer it. Quality of Life Medical and Research Center in Tucson is one of 99 sites in the country taking part in the study, and researchers there say it has been thrilling to see the results come to light.

"When we first saw the opportunity, I jumped at it and applied right away, and I didn’t think I would be selected because the odds are against you in this kind of trial," said Dr. John McGettigan, who owns the research center.

900 people took part in the trial Quality of Life Medical and Research Center held, making it the site with the highest enrollment in the country.

"Basically, they all got the vaccine and placebo, and 99% of them went on and got the second dose a month later," said Dr. McGettigan.

Dr. McGettigan says he was surprised to learn at how effective it was, and says it is a sign that help is on the way.

"Within a matter of weeks, I’m told we will have an emergency use permit to begin to become available," said Dr. McGettigan.

Now, Dr. McGettigan says they will be watching their patients closely. Their study lasts for two years so they know the full effects.