Local pastor participated in Pfizer vaccine trial: ‘I got vaccinated in September’

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — During the height of the pandemic last year, Assumption Church Pastor Friar Rick ‘Friar Rick’ Riccioli was looking for a way to help.

“I saw it on Facebook,” Friar Rick said, “It was at a time when the situation was dire and I said, ‘what can I do, to do my part?’ I don’t, as a Catholic priest, I don’t have children. I don’t have a family in that regard, so it’s a risk to take.”

You may wonder what risk he’s referring to. “I’m part of the Upstate trial for the Pfizer vaccine,” he explained, “I got vaccinated in September.”

Back then, he didn’t know whether or not he received the vaccine or a placebo. He says he had minimal side effects, but he found out in January he did indeed receive the vaccine. His efforts in the study continue.

“Every few months we have check-ins. If I have the slightest symptoms of a cold or anything, I have a COVID test, blood work done,” Friar Rick said, “They’re really on top of how is it going for those of us part of this study and that goes on for two years.”

At the state fairgrounds alone, hundreds of people each day receive the Pfizer vaccine. So that risk he took has become a great reward for so many people.

“I feel both both privileged to have done that, but also feeling a sense of doing my duty and participating in the life of our nation.”

Friar Rick Riccioli

He understands some people have reservations about getting vaccinated for different reasons. For anyone on the fence, he offered this message: “It’s a really important commitment for us to take care of one another,” he said.

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