By Tara Kirkpatrick
Longtime physician Dr. Jack McGettigan has been chosen to run a COVID-19 vaccine trial – the only Tucson doctor selected for the effort.
McGettigan and his Quality of Life Medical & Research Center are among 90 U.S. sites picked to run the two-year trial, which aims to begin working with patient volunteers soon, he said. The entire U.S. effort is expected to include 30,000 people overall.
“It’s very humbling and a huge honor for us,” said McGettigan, who came to Tucson in 1979 for his surgical residency and worked several years for Thomas Davis Medical Centers.
“I was sharing with someone that there are two things that have really impacted my medical career – when I was accepted into medical school and this.”
McGettigan was selected by Moderna in the company’s effort to formulate a vaccine to combat the coronavirus, which has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide, including over 130,000 in the United States.
“My goal is to reach out to as many of the people on the front lines as possible, including our ER staff, EMTs, fire department, police, respiratory therapists, ICU staff, workers in assisted living and nursing homes” McGettigan said. “It’s going to be a two-year study. They want to get a vaccine out soon, so the timeline may change if it shows to be effective.”
From his patient population alone, he said he has already recruited more than 100 people. “I don’t think we are going to have a problem finding volunteers.”
McGettigan, who founded Quality of Life in 2000, has been involved in roughly 200 clinical research studies for pharmaceutical companies over the past 20 years. “Never one of this importance, though,” he said. “We need this badly.”
For more information on the trials, go to Covid19@qlmc.com.