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UC San Diego starts new COVID-19 vaccine trial Sept. 8

UC San Diego Health is rolling out a new vaccine trial starting Sept. 8, and is looking for participants. This comes with another national vaccine trial underway.

SAN DIEGO — As the White House pushes for a COVID-19 vaccine by early November, some in the medical community are pushing back, saying that timeline is too soon. This comes as UC San Diego Health rolls out a new vaccine trial starting Sept. 8 and is seeking participants nationwide.

"I just thought I could help other people,"  said Jeffrey Isabel, a participant in the Moderna Phase III vaccine trial, who recently got a shot in his arm.

The injection is one of two that the retired registered nurse of 35 years will have. 

"It doesn’t burn or anything and didn't make my arm feel sore like the flu shot, but I could've been given a placebo," Isabel said.

Isabel's next shot comes will come a full month after his first, and he will be monitored for two years. He said a Nov. 1st vaccine roll-out date is far too soon.

"I don't really see, since they just started these trials and they don't bring in everyone all at once, I don't see how it would be available," Isabel said.

Dr. Susan Little, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, agrees.

"My personal opinion: I don't think that's feasible. Maybe I'll be surprised. That would be wonderful." Dr. Little said.

Dr. Little leads the AstraZeneca trial that is set to start Sept. 8 under the White House's Operation Warp Speed.

"Like the name implies, go fast, so there are a number of different vaccine trials," Little said.

After Moderna, AstraZeneca is the second major national trial, both enrolling over 30,000 in America in eight weeks and taking just 1,600 in San Diego -- even sending a mobile vaccine clinic bus to Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and La Mesa to prioritize impacted Latino communities.

"Rather than asking them to come to us, we decided to take the vaccine study to them," Little said.

The Chicano Federation responded to the move to bring the vaccine trials to impacted Latino communities with a statement, which read in part:

"Once again the burden of COVID-19 is falling on communities of color. It is unfair that underserved communities who have the least access to information are now being targeted to participate in an experimental vaccine."

"If we can develop antibody, protective antibodies against the spike protein, the hope is that we can prevent infection," Little said.

The vaccine will be made from an adenovirus, which causes the common cold, derived from chimpanzees since people have not been exposed to it, and it won’t replicate in humans.

"It will be a monumental challenge to vaccinate the United States, and the world, with one vaccine, so we are desperately hoping that there is more than one shown to be effective," Little said.

The White House has a goal to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by end of the year or early 2021. It reportedly earmarked $8 billion to vaccine development. 

To participate or learn more about the vaccine trial, see UC San Diego Health 

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