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San Antonio one of several South Texas areas where COVID-19 vaccine will be tested

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio is one of several South Texas locations where volunteers will participate in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.

Moderna and the National Institutes of Health announced on Monday that the third phase of testing on a COVID-19 vaccine is getting underway with 30,000 volunteers. That includes three clinical trial sites at Clinical Trials of Texas in San AntonioCentex Studies, Inc. in McAllen, and Laguna Clinical Research Associates in Laredo.

Congressman Henry Cuellar said on Monday that adults who are interested in participating in the study can sign up online through the Coronavirus Prevention Network or Clinical Trials. Cuellar added that it was important that this phase of testing be expanded to include Hispanic populations.

"Hispanic populations have long been underrepresented in medical research despite being disproportionately affected by many of the studied disease, including the COVID-19. For this reason, I am working hard with the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to create a diverse study population of the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure all Americans benefit from the eventual treatments. The inclusion of Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio in this vaccine trial will help to guarantee that treatments work for all communities in America."

Volunteers will have to provide blood samples and will be given two injections about 28 days apart, but each volunteer will not know whether they are getting the Moderna vaccine or a dummy version.

"As we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we know from history that we cannot get this wrong. I am committed to working with the National Institute of Health to ensure the future vaccine is affordable and accessible in all communities. I want to thank Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins for taking the time to meet with us as well as working to ensure that Hispanic populations are represented in this vital work."

Cuellar also noted that in compliance with the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security), any future COVID-19 vaccine must be made available to all Americans at no cost.

Moderna is one of about 140 COVID-19 vaccine candidates, but it has been identified as one of the more promising potential vaccines. If it is ultimately approved as a COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna has said it expects to produce between 500 million to one billion doses per year, beginning in 2021.

TO SIGN UP: Any adult interested in signing up for the Moderna vaccine clinical trial, visit the Coronavirus Prevention Network or Clinical Trials.

Small groups of people were involved in the Moderna clinical trials for phases one and two; phase three entails giving the vaccine to thousands of people.

Article was originally published on July 27, 2020.