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'Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead': High-risk veteran volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trial

Posted at 3:36 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 19:46:57-04

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Vietnam veteran Bruce Gordon is stepping once more unto the breach.

Except this time, rather than piloting fighter jets, he’s volunteering for a clinical trial to test vaccines against COVID-19.

“I feel that it’s my duty to the country to help wherever I can,” said Gordon. “In this case, even though I’m 85 years old, I think I can help the country by serving in a different capacity.”

Gordon said he heard about the mRNA-1273 vaccine trial on the news. Moderna Inc. is developing the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and has recently entered Phase 3 of testing. You can learn more about the COVE Study here.

“A vaccine is one of the most important things that we can do for America and the world now,” said Gordon.

As a senior citizen, Gordon falls into the high-risk category for contracting COVID-19. However, he said the fact he’s in a vulnerable population only encouraged him to volunteer more.

“Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead,” he said.

Gordon said he wants a safe vaccine for the entire world. He talked about thalidomide, an anti-nausea drug from the 1950s wthat was approved by the FDA after minimal testing in humans and ultimately led to serious birth defects in thousands of infants.

Gordon said the "thalidomide tragedy" is an example of why people from all backgrounds need to volunteer to test the COVID-19 vaccines before it’s approved.

“It’s very important to test these new vaccines to be safe and effective for millions of people with millions of different problems,” said Gordon. “We need to test you. We need to test it before we let it loose on the whole world. So, this is something you can do to help your country and help the world. I think it’s a worthwhile risk we should take.”

You can apply to volunteer for a clinical trial to help find a vaccine for COVID-19 on the COVID-19 Prevention Network website.