VA, Defense Department recruiting for COVID-19 vaccine trials

The Department of Veterans Affairs is recruiting about 8,000 people to join phase 3 clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines at 20 federal medical centers, Kaiser Health News reported. 

The VA’s recruiting follows an announcement from the U.S. Defense Department in September that it has partnered with AstraZeneca to recruit volunteers at five of its medical facilities. The Defense Department has also signed an agreement with another vaccine developer, though it won’t release the company’s name, Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, head of the Defense Health Agency, told Kaiser Health News

Of the 20 medical centers, 17 are part of Johnson & Johnson’s trial, and the others are for Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. 

The military provides a “rich opportunity” to find volunteers from Black communities and other minorities that clinicians have historically struggled to recruit, Rear Adm. Thomas Cullison, a physician and former deputy surgeon general for the Navy, told Kaiser Health News

No service members will be required to participate in the trials, but volunteers will be paid by the drugmaker for their respective trial.  

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