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UCSD lands COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial site in National City

El Toyon Park.JPG
Posted at 4:10 PM, Sep 18, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — UC San Diego was granted a temporary use permit by the city council in National City to use El Toyon Park to conduct a clinical vaccination trial.

The permit is good from Sept. 16 to Oct. 31, 2022, with a rental rate of $5,000 per month.

A spokesperson for UCSD Health said the site would be for the Janssen clinical trial, which is still awaiting final approval locally; more details could not be confirmed Friday.

The vaccination clinic would be set up in a parking lot at the park in National City, one of the communities heavily impacted by COVID-19.

Community advocates have been working with UCSD to inform potential participants in the South Bay about vaccine trials.

“The Chicano Federation has been working with a lot of our underserved communities, but also some of the hardest-hit communities by COVID-19, particularly the Latino communities,” said Roberto Alcantar, Chief Strategy Officer for the Chicano Federation. “One of the hot topics to come out of this is the issue with vaccinations.”

Alcantar said concerns were raised over a different trial that was set to begin in the South Bay earlier this month; it was later put on hold. But UCSD quickly worked with the federation to ensure residents in the trial areas would get the information needed to make informed decisions if they wanted to participate.

“We’re happy to see that UCSD is taking the lead in National City, and it’s not some other group because we know that they’re doing the best that they can to provide the right information,” he said. “If there are trials that are happening out there that are unethical or targeting people of color with incentives, we’ll call them out.”

UCSD researchers previously said they hoped to focus on recruiting people for the trials from underserved communities with the highest rate of COVID-19.

The San Diego Latino Health Coalition, which includes the Chicano Federation and several other nonprofit organizations, will continue community outreach efforts before the trial officially begins.

“We’re very effective at getting the information out, and people are receptive to us because they trust us, they know us, we’ve been working with them for decades,” said Alcantar.

There’s no word on when the trial will start, but soon there may be three clinical trials running simultaneously with two focused primarily on the South Bay.