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National City mayor to participate in Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine trial

vaccine trial trailers.JPG
Posted at 5:17 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 21:45:09-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - While many Americans may be divided on whether they will get a COVID-19 vaccine once one is available, National City’s mayor is about to be part of the trial process.

“I’m excited, kind of nervous,” said National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “As a leader, I will step up, physically, mentally, and emotionally for my community because we need to be part of the solution.”

After learning more about Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Phase 3 vaccine trial happening in National City, Sotelo-Solis said she decided the right move was to apply to become a trial participant herself.

“I believe, as a leader, you should demonstrate trust in the system,” she said. “I was able to ask more detailed questions; I am a survivor of melanoma cancer, you know, getting all those questions answered. I will be an active participant in the vaccine trial starting Friday.”

Johnson & Johnson is aiming to recruit 60,000 people worldwide to take part in its trial. UC San Diego is participating in the study locally and looking to enroll 2,000 volunteers.

Trailers that act as a vaccine clinic have been set up at El Toyon Park in National City, and the trial resumed last week.

Across the county, Hispanic and Latino communities have been hit the hardest by COVID-19. The Chicano Federation has been working as part of the San Diego Latino Health Coalition to address the issues and provide helpful information about vaccine trials.

“One of the things we recognized early on is that our Spanish speaking community and Latino community here in San Diego needed more education about vaccine trials,” said Nancy Maldonado, President, and CEO of the Chicano Federation. “We want our community, particularly our Spanish speaking community, to have all the education they need around the vaccine and around vaccine trials.”

Maldonado said the goal is to make sure Southbay residents have the information they need to make informed decisions, and she applauds Sotelo-Solis for her efforts.

“One of the best ways to gain trust is to lead by example and not ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself,” said Maldonado.

“If I can help someone trust in vaccine trials and medical systems as a whole, we can really start chipping away at building true and significant trust,” said Sotelo-Solis.

Sotelo-Solis said she will have her blood drawn and get a shot as part of the trial on Friday morning.

UCSD is still recruiting participants for this trial. Click here to learn more.