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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego leaders say vaccine will be safe to take

As the FDA approved Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, a local doctor on the voting panel weighs in on the safety as UCSD trial is still underway.

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — National City Major Alejandra Sotelo-Solis had her blood drawn as part of her second appointment of the UC San Diego Health COVID-19 vaccine trial for Johnson and Johnson. It's just one injection, which she got last month and said it felt like the flu shot.

"You feel that intramuscular soreness, I felt that probably for like four days, but nothing that stretching or ice couldn't take care of, then the day after. I did have a slight headache, so we were monitoring that but no fever,” Sotelo-Solis said.

Sotelo-Solis gets paid $100 as a trial participant for two years.

"As a leader I want to be able to dispel those fears and start talking about vaccines,” she said.

Dr. Mark Sawyer of Rady Children's Hospital just voted on the FDA vaccine panel to get one approved to use in the U.S.

"I definitely voted in favor of this as this is a real breakthrough for us, we’re going to be able to get a handle on the pandemic if people keep wearing masks and distancing as folk start getting the vaccine,” Sawyer said.

San Diego County could get its first allotment of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine this weekend with immunizations beginning soon after.

There are plans well in place to distribute the vaccine immediately,” Sawyer said.

As for those on the fence about getting the vaccine? Sawyer emphatically says everybody needs to get this vaccine.

Sotelo-Solis got emotional talking about how she was able to convince her elderly father to get the vaccine, even as she is a recent skin cancer survivor.

"I had an aunt who said mija, why are you doing this? Like why you, why do you have to be the one, and I said why not me? I have to be willing to do what I ask of my constituency.”


Despite concerns the vaccine is fast tracked, doctors urge that it will be safe.

"I'm expecting by Monday, we're going to have all the guidelines in place approval in place," Sawyer said.

Although UC San Diego Health has about 60,000 participants nationwide and 2,000 participants in San Diego County, the trial is still looking for more to participate. If you'd like to join or find out more information, you can go to www.CovidVaccineSD.com.

RELATED: Here’s the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for San Diego County

RELATED: In bid to end pandemic, FDA approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use