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Phase 3 of Operation Warp Speed kicks for coronavirus vaccine launches in San Antonio

The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca will be tested on volunteers to determine its effectiveness over the next several months.

SAN ANTONIO — As the number of coronavirus cases continues to go up around the world, there’s a growing urgency for a mass-distributed vaccine. That’s where Operation Warp Speed comes into play.

The San Antonio military community is among the selected sites for taking part in a federal initiative aimed at evaluating a clinical trial vaccine program.

 “We continue that fight and take the next step as we officially kick off the San Antonio military health system’s participation in Operation Warp Speed vaccine trials,” said Brig. Gen. Shan Bagby, Brooke Army Medical Center Commanding General.

Phase three of Operation Warp Speed involves a massive of medical professionals who will study the effectiveness of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.

Qualified volunteers must be a military health system beneficiary and be at least 18 years old.

It is especially important for our sites to enroll individuals at higher risk of acquiring COVID-19 such as individuals over the age of 65, those with underlying medical conditions, those working in essential jobs and people from racial and ethnic groups which have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic,” said Col. Jason Okulicz, who is leading the local effort of Operation Warp Speed.

Even after clinical trials are completed and a vaccine is approved by the Federal Drug Administration, it will take months to supply enough vaccine for everyone.

“We need to continue testing COVID-19 vaccines so that hopefully we will have multiple safe and effective vaccines available for use in the U.S. and around the globe,” Okulicz said.

The clinical trials will take place at the Brooke Army Medical Center and Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at Lackland Air Force Base.

One of the goals of Operation Warp Speed is to enroll 30,000 volunteers.

Those interested in becoming a volunteer are encouraged to visit either site or go to www.coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org