By Tristan Jung

The Department of Defense has announced that five military hospitals will be participating in Phase III of COVID-19 vaccine trials. According to a DoD press release, the hospitals will be participating in the AstraZeneca AZD1222 vaccine trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine. 

The sites selected are: 

  1. Naval Medical Center San Diego
  2. Joint Base San Antonio Brooke Army Medical Center (San Antonio, TX)
  3. Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (San Antonio, TX)
  4. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (Bethesda, MA) 
  5. Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (Fort Belvoir, VA)

The AstraZeneca vaccine trials are part of Operation Warp Speed, an initiative to help create a functional and safe COVID-19 vaccine and supply it to 300 million Americans. The current trial is on pause in the United States after an FDA investigation into a potential side effect that surfaced with a  patient in Great Britain. However, AstraZeneca has resumed testing in Great Britain and other locations and is waiting on the FDA for approval as of September 22. 

Prospective volunteers can apply by visiting, clicking on “Volunteer Now” and completing the survey. Local site coordinators will contact volunteers if they are a good match for the study. To make sure the vaccine protects people in high-risk situations, those in densely populated areas, or those who work essential jobs like healthcare personnel, grocery workers, and public transit workers are encouraged to attend. Operation Warp Speed has set a target of January 2021 for a working vaccine, and these tests will be a key part of the effort. 

Direct support for the vaccine effort has been provided by the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND).