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National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis joins Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial

She hopes to inspire others to take vaccine
NC Mayor COVID Vaccine.png
Posted at 10:57 AM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 16:34:35-05

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) -- The Mayor of National City wrapped up her first 70 days as part of the trial for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis had blood drawn, and her temperature was checked on Friday morning as part of the study.

"It's a really good feeling," she said. "Knowing that a one-and-done shot can mean more people can get vaccinated, and we can reach herd immunity a lot faster. That's what we want to get to."

Johnson & Johnson plans to submit their trial results to the FDA next week for Emergency Use Approval. So far, early results show the vaccine, called "Janssen," is 90% effective.

Unlike the already-approved vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, Janssen only requires one shot. It can also be stored in more normal temperatures. That makes it easier to administer and distribute.

ABC 10News took an in-depth look at the vaccine, explaining how it uses a technique called "Viral Vectors." In that technique, code from the spike proteins in COVID-19 are put into a harmless virus and then injected into your body.

The immune system can make antibodies to fight off that virus. In doing so, it learns how to defeat COVID-19 as well. Because it's different from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, researchers believe there will be fewer side effects.

RELATED: How the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson works

Sotelo-Solis says she dealt with some arm soreness and a slight headache immediately after getting the shot. But she has not had any other lingering effects.

"No tail has grown, no tentacles have come out of my body," she joked on Friday. "I'm good, feeling healthy, feeling happy and ready to help people continue to feel confident in the vaccine."

Sotelo-Solis says that's crucial in National City, which has been disproportionately hit by the Pandemic. County data shows 1 in 10 people in National City has tested positive for the disease.

That's part of why she volunteered for the study.

"We want to make sure that the community feels comfortable," she says. "It's OK to have questions, and it's okay to be nervous. But don't let that nervousness overtake your ability to be part of the solution to end the Pandemic."

UC San Diego has helped with the study, in which 2,000 people in San Diego enrolled. They set up eight trailers in El Toyon Park for the study.

Once it ends and the vaccine gets approval, those trailers can be converted into a vaccine distribution site.