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UC San Diego Sets Up COVID-19 Vaccine Trial In National City

In this undated photo provided by Johnson & Johnson in September 2020, a woma...

Credit: Johnson & Johnson

Above: In this undated photo provided by Johnson & Johnson in September 2020, a woman receives an injection during phase 3 testing for the Janssen Pharmaceutical-Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States.

UC San Diego is getting ready to launch a COVID-19 vaccine trial at a National City Park.

An encampment of trailers and generators has been set up between El Toyon Park, a sports field and homes on National City's South U Avenue.

Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

This is where UC San Diego will run its newest COVID-19 vaccine trial. It's expected to run through October 2022, but there are no patients on-site yet.

Dr. Katherine Promer, an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego, said the university is delaying its start date to at least next week as it waits on approval from Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

“Last week we were told as early as Oct. 7, and we are still waiting on a few documents from Janssen," she said. "We are taking that opportunity to really oil down the process and get prepared.”

The Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trials are already underway at UC San Diego Health. This will also be a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

“We are asking people sign up for our registry on our website,,” Promer said. “Once we select somebody from the registry, we give them a call just to go through more of the details of the trial, make sure that person understands those details and see if they are still interested in participating.”

RELATED: Southern California Officials Drafting Rollout Plans In Anticipation Of Potential COVID-19 Vaccine

Reported by Jacob Aere

The South Bay has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, with National City having one of the highest case rates in the county, according to the County of San Diego’s COVID-19 data.

This Phase III trial is emphasizing participation in underserved communities, particularly those of color, as they have had higher rates of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.

It is important to include people of color in vaccine trials, but only to do so following proper procedures, said Roberto Alcantar, chief strategy officer at the Chicano Federation.

“It's important to have people of color represented during these trials to make sure that our specific health needs are being looked at and taken care of as we develop these vaccines,” Alcantar said. “All we ask is that this is done in an ethical manner, that people are provided with the right information and making sure that this is truly their choice.”

The vaccine trial in National City is part of a bigger plan. The Janssen Pharmaceutical trial is expecting to recruit 2,000 participants in San Diego and 60,000 people globally during the two-year trial to assess their COVID-19 vaccine.

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In this episode of San Diego News Matters, we’ll go over election races and debates; the San Diego Mayoral Forum, the 49th Congressional District race San Diego County Supervisor race in District 1, and the 50th and 52nd Congressional District races. Plus, part two of how Covid-19 Metrics are calculated with KPBS’ Trigger Trackers.

Aired: October 9, 2020 | Transcript

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Photo of Jacob Aere

Jacob Aere
Freelance Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a freelance reporter. In addition to covering the latest news and issues relevant to San Diego, I seek the overlooked voices of our community to tell their stories.

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