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NEWS | Nov. 18, 2020

SAMHS accepting volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trial

By Airman 1st Class Melody Bordeaux 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

A kick-off event to commemorate the San Antonio Military Health System beginning Phase 3 of the AstraZeneca vaccine trial as part of Operation Warp Speed was held Nov. 18 at Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

The 59th Medical Wing and Brooke Army Medical Center were two of the five locations selected to participate in the Department of Defense’s first COVID-19 vaccine trial. Site locations were chosen based on their diverse and representative military beneficiary population and their geographic location of being in an area highly affected by COVID-19.

“Throughout the pandemic, the San Antonio Military Health System has continued to stay at the forefront of the fight through testing, research and treatment of COVID-19,” said Army Brig. Gen. Shan K. Bagby, BAMC commanding general and deputy market director for SAMHS. “We are honored to be among those sites selected in support of this whole-of-government effort to ensure safe, effective medical products are provided at a critical time to the American people.”

Each OWS trial has an overall goal of 30,000 participants with SAMHS having a target of 500 participants at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and BAMC for a total of 1,000 participants within the market area. The trial will run for two years in order to evaluate the vaccine’s effectiveness in protecting against COVID-19.

“We need to continue testing COVID-19 vaccines so that hopefully we will have multiple safe and effective vaccines available for use in the United States, and around the globe, to curb this pandemic,” said Col. Jason Okulicz, Joint Base San Antonio site principal investigator. “We are excited to contribute to the OWS goal of ensuring the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines by taking part in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial here at JBSA.”

DOD sites, to include BAMC and WHASC, are open on a voluntary basis to Military Health System beneficiaries -- active duty, retirees and family members 18 years of age and older.

Beneficiaries are welcome to sign up for consideration now by reaching out to either site:

Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (Site Code: WHASC) 
Recruitment Phone Number: 253-341-6170 

Brooke Army Medical Center (Site Code: BAMC) 
Recruitment Phone Number: 253-924-9458 

Alternatively, volunteers can also visit, click on “Volunteer Now” and complete the survey. When requested, volunteers should enter the appropriate site code, which is BAMC or WHASC, depending on their preference and geographic location.

“There is no better location for an effort of this type than Military City USA – thanks to our incredible military population always looking for continued ways to support their nation and the much-appreciated support of our military and community partners,” Bagby said.