San Diego County

National City Mayor Clearing Way for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Access

NBC Universal, Inc.

National City's Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis’s participation in Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine trial may have opened the door to vaccine availability for thousands in her city.

Mayor Sotelo-Solis opened a test center in her city for Johnson & Johnson and participated in its trial. She also worked with UC San Diego Health to get Johnson & Johnson to run its phase 3 testing there.

She said she saw the writing on the wall, and it just might pay off.

“Assuming that Johnson & Johnson gets their approval, we will be working with UC San Diego to get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine provided,” the mayor said.

National city just opened a vaccine site, smaller than the county’s two “Super stations,” with staff capable of injecting 500 doses per day. Sotelo-Solis is planning a far larger distribution center for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should it be granted emergency use status by the FDA.

"If my community does not have the same access to those vaccines -- and they are the essential workers, they are much more vulnerable to being exposed to COVID-19 -- then the cycle will continue,” Sotelo-Solis said.

Johnson and Johnson could release the phase three clinical trial results for its vaccine any day now, which is the next step in the process of getting emergency approval from the FDA.

J&J vaccine, “Jansen,” is a single dose vaccine instead of a double, and it can be stored at a higher temperature than Pfizer's or Moderna's vaccines. 

Sotelo-Solis doesn’t know if the received the real thing or a placebo, but she’s leaning toward the former.

“I felt the soreness in the arm, I had a little headache the day after. I felt a little sore and weak,” she said. "I am pretty sure, but again, you know, if I didn't then all of these symptoms may have been in my head, but I don't think they were.”

Most of what we know about the release of phase three trial results so far has come from business publications and broadcasts. CNBC reports FDA could happen as early as February.

Sotelo-Solis said that she also signed off tonight on the city's first mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit. Eight firefighters certified to give injections will travel to long-term care facilities to give residents the shot.

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