Although VA has begun Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations in over 150 facilities nationwide, surveys have shown that a large percentage of Americans are still skeptical about the vaccines and therapeutics that are being tested in clinical trials.

Operation Warp Speed is the public-private partnership to facilitate and accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. But efforts are underway around the world to develop more.

According to The New York Times, scientists are testing 52 vaccines in clinical trials in people, and at least 87 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.

Engine, a media and marketing services company, reported in September that only 27% of the respondents to its surveys said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s ready. The company found that 77% of Americans would eventually get a vaccine.

VA part of trials with at least five pharmaceutical companies

Thus far, VA has participated in or will participate in phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials for COVID-19 vaccines produced by at least five pharmaceutical companies. VA Greater Los Angeles took part in the Moderna trial and the VA medical center in Cleveland took part in the Pfizer trial. Both of those trials are closed to new volunteers.

Earlier this month, Pfizer found in preliminary data that its vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 within seven days after getting a second dose. Moderna announced – based on interim results – that its candidate was 94.5% effective within two weeks after receiving a second dose.

VA is enrolling participants at 17 VA medical centers for the Janssen/ENSEMBLE trial. Recruitment is underway for the AstraZeneca trial at VA New York Harbor. VA is also preparing to recruit participants for the Novavax and Sanofi studies before the end of the year.

VA Ann Arbor in Michigan and the Miami VA have been identified for the Novavax trial. The Bay Pines VA in Florida has been selected for the Sanofi trial.

For VA’s perspective on the integrity and other aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine trials, VA Research Currents spoke with Dr. Molly Klote, the director of the Office of Research Protections, Policy, and Education in VA’s Office of Research and Development.

VA Research Currents: Vaccines normally require years of research and testing before reaching the clinical stage. Are the COVID-19 vaccines being pushed through the system too quickly?

Dr. Molly Klote

“It’s unfortunate that the public has that perception. There’s no evidence that the science or the process in the U.S. approval system is being shortcut in any way. One reason the process is going faster than many experts anticipated is we are using different technologies than what we used in the past.

“Take, for instance, the flu vaccine. More than 80% of flu vaccines require an egg for the vaccine to be developed. It’s estimated that we may have used 140 million eggs this flu season alone. The process in which the virus is grown in the egg takes at least six months to produce a vaccine.

“Before the pandemic – and as a result of the inefficiencies in the vaccine development process – President Trump issued an executive order to modernize our flu vaccine manufacturing technologies. For the development of COVID-19 vaccines, we’re not relying on the 90-year-old egg-based process. Instead, we’re using new ways to activate the immune system.

“So mainly because of technology, we’re able to move these vaccines forward so quickly. There’s also no evidence that lower approval standards are being applied to these vaccines compared with others produced in emergency situations. For all vaccines, the benefits must outweigh the risks.”

More information

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Click here to learn more about volunteering for COVID-19 research.

Read more about VA research here.

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37 Comments

  1. Veterans Health Administration January 14, 2021 at 10:04 am

    You can view the full listing of the initial VA locations providing COVID vaccinations here: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/COVID_19_Vaccinations.asp. We also recommend you sign up to stay informed about VHA’s COVID plans here or talk to your provider: https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/

  2. John Clark January 8, 2021 at 12:22 am

    I am scheduled to receive my COVID shot this Saturday at the Cheyenne VA medical center

  3. William Griffin January 7, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    I am 74 years old, I live in Ky around Cincinnati Ohio. when will we able to get

  4. Mike Richman January 6, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    As the author of this blog, I want to thank you all for your comments. If anyone is interested in learning more about how to get vaccinated through VA, please go this web site: https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/.

    If you are interested in signing up for a VA coronavirus-COV-19 vaccine or treatment trial, click on this link: https://www.va.gov/coronavirus-research/volunteer/sign-up

    Thank you.

    • Marie K January 8, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      Is the VA aware that some active duty military are refusing the vaccine due to a perception that the VA will not cover potential future COVID vaccine-related issues because they would be receiving the shot as a “volunteer”? Has the VA considered publicizing that this is incorrect? I’m a vet and military spouse and I have heard this reason cited by many in my community.

  5. Anthony M Gonzales January 5, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    Some of us unfortunately will be dead by the time the vaccine reaches the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. I am 100% SC 79 years old diabetes, heart disease, neuropathy and bunch underlying factors. Who will notify us when the vaccines are available?

  6. Anthony Figueiredo January 5, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Please let me know whenI I can have the vaccine . Please

  7. Mark Fries January 5, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    When are we getting our shot in New York I’ve got COPD I need the shot?

  8. Greg Whited January 5, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    Call me ignorant I do not care. The FACT is there has been entirely to much dishonesty, bad information and politicised “crap” spewed about this whole COVID mess. I am high risk but I am not foolish enough to fall for all the hype from the government. I will wait to see how it looks in several months to a year before I offer my arm this vaccine. I simply will not place my trust in the political hacks running this show.

  9. SANDRA WEIDNER January 5, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    The VA is going by the recommendation from CDC, not by local government. Here in Florida our governor has issued an executive order that those 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions are now to be given the vaccine. They have already started in most counties, problem is getting an appt.

  10. SANDRA WEIDNER January 5, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    I would participate but, won’t know if getting the real thing or not. I am too old and have gone through too much to be a guinea pig for anyone.

  11. John Pozzi January 5, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    I’m 83 years old can I get vaccinated at the Miami VA?

  12. Joel Kurtz January 5, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    I also would like to be in the trials. I have asked my PCP when I would be able to get a shot, trial or otherwise, and was given an address on the internet. I was told to try that and maybe they can answer my questions. Still have no idea when or where I can get a shot. Please help.

    Joel Kurtz

    [EDITOR: DO NOT publish your personal or sensitive information on the internet. I have removed it from your post.]

  13. Mark Thomas Farrell January 5, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    I am a disabled veteran and am 70 years old with diabetes and several other conditions. When can I expect to be allowed the vaccine, and where can I get the shot?

    M.T.Farrell Grand Ledge, Mi.

  14. Ronnie Bazile January 5, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    To receive VA covid 19 vaccine update for Veterans to take and location date.

  15. Gary W. Steppler January 5, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    I would like to know when the vaccine will be available to me/us . I’m 74/to be 75 sept . Who do we contact or will we be contacted ?

  16. Mark Seibert January 5, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    I am one of the veterans who will take either shot when/if it ever gets to my small town of Newport, on the Oregon Central Coast. Forgive my skepticism, but it seems that smaller towns and cites are at the extreme end of the string when it comes to Covid 19 treatment. We here have about the same percentage of cases per capita as do the larger towns and cites, but receive treatment last. As a 73 year old, type II diabetic, with a wife that has immune deficiencies and breathing problems, we should be pretty high up on the list, but appear to not be. There are but two hospitals in Oregon that are administering Covid 19 serum and none are near us. Millions of shots available, virtually none here in Oregon. This needs to be addressed, and quickly!

  17. Thomas W Roberts SR January 5, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    I am a 74 year old,100% Disabled Veteran, with Diabetes and Heart Disease. When would I be able to be vaccinated?

  18. Joseph Hargadon January 5, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    I have been waiting for over 4 years for a new ROHO cushion, the VA can’t do anything medical without screwing things up

  19. Gary A Jones January 5, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Please sign me up for trials.

  20. BALDWIN CARL January 5, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Is New Mexico not included in the
    Vaccine shots???

    • Chris Munding January 5, 2021 at 6:26 pm

      Carl, I’ve wonder about that too. Nothing against the Albuquerque VA – they have been the best for me! I worry about the side effects of the vaccines but, what the hell, we’ve been through much worse.

    • Veterans Health Administration January 14, 2021 at 11:37 am

      You can view a full list of the initial VA locations providing COVID vaccinations here: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/COVID_19_Vaccinations.asp

  21. Jim Geldert January 5, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    I applaud the VA outreach efforts to involve VA veterans in C-19 vaccine trials.

    However, there seems to be a contrastingly vacant effort to tell us when and where we, the veterans in general, can expect to “begin” receiving these non-trial vaccines.

    In addition, I have seen no outreach either nationally or on a local VA Clinic-level through my VA primary physician to tell us if vaccinations will be administered based on age group??

    Bottom line is, there seems to be a communications gap between VA Headquarters and the individual veteran, that should be fixed immediately?

    Thanks

  22. Lori Freshour January 5, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I’m excited to get the vaccine, when is the earliest immune comprised veterans can get it?

    • Dolores Rapp January 5, 2021 at 4:41 pm

      I would like to be on a list for the vaccine I am 87 yrs. old and in good health. When will the Vaccine be available?

    • Veterans Health Administration January 14, 2021 at 11:40 am

      We recommend you talk to your VA health care provider to determine when you can get the vaccine. You can also sign up to stay informed about VHA’s COVID plans here: https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/

  23. Rudolfo Oballe January 5, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Compensation? If so how much?

Comments are closed.

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