Two military hospitals in San Antonio participating in AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial

Approximately 100 people taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial

SAN ANTONIO – Two military hospitals in San Antonio are participating in COVID-19 vaccine trials, and approximately 100 people are already taking part in the study.

“The ultimate goal is to have a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Okulicz, site principal investigator of Operation Warp Speed at Joint Base San Antonio.

Brooke Army Medical Center and Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center are among five Department of Defense locations chosen to participate in AstraZeneca’s phase III trial.

“Once you progressed to phase III status, that is when a product such as a vaccine is tested in large numbers of healthy individuals to determine the outcome,” Okulicz said.

The study is working to enroll a total of 1,000 people. Researchers are looking for people at higher risk of getting COVID-19 -- including people over the age of 65 -- those with underlying medical conditions, and people working in essential jobs.

“They’ll have a blood draw. They’ll have a nasopharyngeal sample obtained, and they will also receive either the investigational vaccine or placebo,” Okulicz said.

The team will monitor participants over the course of a two-year period.

Peggy Smith is part of the team at BAMC that is participating in the COVID-19 vaccine trial under Operation Warp Speed. She has been in military research for over 30 years.

“It’s just phenomenal to think that your part of history,” Smith said.

The AstraZeneca vaccine trial has an overall target enrollment of 30,000 participants. The vaccine trial kicked off in San Antonio on Nov. 5.

The study is only for active-duty service members, their family members and retirees who have military benefits and access to care at the military base.

For more information, call the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (Site Code: WHASC) recruitment phone number at 253-341-6170 or email You can also call the Brooke Army Medical Center (Site Code: BAMC) recruitment phone number at 253-924-9458 or email

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

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

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