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National City mayor takes part in COVID-19 vaccine trial to gain trust of community

“This is part of the solution. This is part of a greater good,” she said.

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — The Mayor of National City rolled up her sleeve for an opportunity to help create the first effective COVID-19 vaccine. On Friday, Alejandra Sotelo-Solis participated in UC San Diego’s new COVID-19 vaccine trial.

“This is part of the solution. This is part of a greater good,” she said.

Sotelo-Solis will become one of 60,000 volunteers taking part in Johnson & Johnson's phase three coronavirus vaccine trials. It comes about a month after J&J temporarily halted its vaccine trials because a participant got sick. The mayor said the pause is reassuring.

“I’m glad to hear that there is a pause because it's following the protocol," said Sotelo-Solis.

UCSD launched the trial in National City to make it accessible to those who need it most: underserved Hispanic communities hit especially hard by COVID-19.

Data shows the community still has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in San Diego County.

“They do want to get a diverse pool of candidates engaged in this trial,” said Nancy Maldonado of the Chicano Federation.

 Maldonado applauded the mayor for taking the lead.

“What a way to build trust with the community that she serves,” she said.

It’s a community banding together to help each other in this pandemic. Food distribution volunteers said they’re seeing double the amount of families picking up food more frequently. They're looking to city leaders for help.

“It’s kind of surprising that city leaders would go into a trial," said Angela Brannon- Baptiste as she participated in a National City food drive Thursday.

“I think it is amazing for a leader in the community to step up,” said Rosie Montano, as she gave out food.

The mayor hopes that optimism will push her constituents to join the trial, and eventually get vaccinated.

“Even more so when we have that vaccine, being able to say 'you know what? I trust in it. Is Alejandra still alive? Alive and surviving,' which I plan to do,” she said.

If you would like to take part in current or future COVID-19 prevention clinical trials, click here.

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