National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis is ready to take a shot at helping a COVID-19 vaccine become a reality.
“It’s part of a double blind study so I’ll be getting the vaccine or saline and I’ll say ouch to both,” she laughed.
If all goes as planned, Mayor Sotelo-Solis will join UC San Diego and Johnson & Johnson's phase three clinical trial on Friday.
"For me, as a leader, I think it's important to demonstrate, again, trust in the system and trust the science of what is the vaccine,” Mayor Sotelo-Solis said.
San Diego County health data shows close to 59% of local COVID-19 cases are in Hispanic and Latino communities.
It’s why Nancy Maldonado, CEO at the Chicano Federation of San Diego County, has teamed with other non-profits to focus on coronavirus outreach in the affected communities.
“A big part of what we do is to educate the community about the vaccine trial,” explained Maldonado. “There really is a lot of mistrust and by the mayor doing this, it helps build trust among her community. And she’s able to share having gone through it. So when she talks about it, her opinion and experience will carry more weight to the residents of not just National City, but Latino residents throughout the county."
As part of the focus on underserved communities, UCSD will run its Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial out of trailers in a parking lot at El Toyon Park in National City.
It’s also where Mayor Sotelo-Solis will get her shot Friday.
When asked if she had any concern about becoming part of the trial since it was the same vaccine trial put on hold after someone got sick, Sotelo-Solis responded:
"Knowing that they did pause meant that they were following the guidelines and the scientific protocols that are necessary in order to kind of move forward,” explained Sotelo-Solis. “If they had said, ‘that's just one person, that's an anomaly, whatever,” then I would have had second thoughts."
Mayor Sotelo-Solis’ vaccine participation is already having a positive impact on constituents like Alberto Subig.
“I’ll take it If the mayor participates. Why not?" he said.
Organizers are looking to recruit 60,000 people around the world, and 2,000 here in San Diego. The site in National City is scheduled to operate through 2022.
If you’re interested in signing up click here.