Five United States military sites were chosen to participate in the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccine trials, the Pentagon announced in a statement provided to Fox News Thursday.
“The Department of Defense continues to play a key role in the development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine,” Tom McCaffery, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, said in the release.
“Now that vaccines have passed the first phases of testing for safety, dosing and response, we are ready to move into the next phase where volunteers are needed to join large clinical studies. We are excited to have several sites identified to support the next steps in the vaccine development process,” McCaffery, said in the press release.
Those sites, which, according to the Pentagon’s release, are located in the Washington, D.C., San Diego and San Antonio areas, and will test AZD1222, the vaccine candidate currently being developed by AstraZeneca. The following sites were picked to participate in the phase III trials:
- Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland
- Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia
- Joint Base San Antonio Brooke Army Medical Center
- Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, San Antonio
- Naval Medical Center San Diego
Volunteers are being asked to go to Coronavirus Prevention Network website, or this link, to volunteer. Once the potential participant completes a survey, an administrator will contact the Military Health System beneficiary volunteers in their area who are a good match for the study.
To evaluate the efficacy of the vaccines, health officials are asking those from hardest-hit communities to participate. The study is looking for individuals who are at high risk for contracting COVID-19 infection and, as specified on their release, these include:
- Essential workers, such as healthcare professionals, emergency response personnel, public transit employees, grocery workers, those who work in meat-packing plants, restaurant staff, etc.
- Those living or working in nursing homes, correctional facilities, densely populated residential environments and congregated communities.
- Those with underlying health conditions, older populations, and racial/ethnic groups such as African Americans, Latino, and Native American populations, and other members of a community that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
These trials are part of Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the goal of which is to deliver safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics by January 2021, according to the Pentagon release.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.