As a lad, Larry Maggi volunteered for the Marine Corps.
In the spirit of “We did it before, and we can do it again,” he signed up a few weeks ago for another stint, not in the military, but as part of a vaccine trial.
Maggi, 69, a Washington County commissioner, will be heading to Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday to receive a shot – known as an “intramuscular injection.”
He doesn’t know if he’ll be receiving a preventative for the novel coronavirus that’s being studied, or a placebo, which is an inactive substance.
Wednesday will be the first of a series of six day trips he’ll make during the vaccine trial that is being conducted by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
The four-term Democratic vice chairman of the board of commissioners said he regarded volunteering for the vaccine trial as “doing something patriotic for our country.”
He described his health as “excellent,” and said when he heard about the vaccine trial, he looked it up on a website and let those doing the recruiting know he’d like to be a part of it.
Several interviews followed. A deal breaker, Maggi said, would have been if those conducting the study advised him to avoid his grandchildren.
During the study, he’s supposed to go about his normal routines. “They wanted people who are out in the public,” Maggi explained. “Somebody who was hunkering down would not be a good test candidate.”
Maggi was also assured he would not be receiving a live virus. COVID-19 is known in medical circles as SARS-CoV-2 for “severe acute respiratory syndrome,” a name that differentiates it from influenza, for example.
“Since March, nothing but COVID-19 has been on everyone’s mind,” he said. He volunteered for food distribution and Meals on Wheels, but said, “We need a vaccine to hopefully get back to normal.
“I kind of felt like I joined the Marines again.”
At some point, after his duties are complete, Maggi will learn if he received an actual vaccine or the placebo.