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UC San Diego’s National City COVID-19 Vaccine Trial On Hold

Dr. Susan Little speaks at UC San Diego's vaccine trial site at El Toyon Park...

Photo by Jacob Aere

Above: Dr. Susan Little speaks at UC San Diego's vaccine trial site at El Toyon Park in National City, Oct. 13, 2020.

UC San Diego on Tuesday put its COVID-19 vaccine trial in National City on hold.

The trial was supposed to begin Tuesday in National City’s El Toyon Park, but vaccine maker Johnson & Johnson put the study on hold because one participant from the global study developing an unexplained illness.

Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

Dr. Susan Little, UC San Diego’s principal investigator for the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine trial, said these incidents are fairly common.

“It simply means that we are waiting for safety regulators to review the event that occurred,” she said, “to see if the event is serious enough to wait and do a more thorough evaluation, or reactivate the trial and restart enrolling.”

Johnson & Johnson isn’t disclosing the nature of the illness that struck a participant in the global study.

The company learned of the patient's illness on Sunday and disclosed the information to the public on Monday night.

A spokesperson for the company said they don’t yet know whether that person received their experimental vaccine or a placebo shot.

“Pauses occur all the time, during large phase three clinical trials.” Little said. “This is a trial of 60,000 individuals, so it wouldn't be unusual for another pause to occur.”

The pause is at least the second such hold to occur for several COVID-19 vaccines that have reached large-scale final tests in the U.S.

National City was chosen as the location for the local vaccine trial as it has been one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in San Diego County.

Once cleared to restart the study, National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis says she hopes to participate to be a part of a solution to a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I have submitted my name and my application for this COVID-19 trial because I believe it's part of being a good leader,” Sotelo-Solis said.

Johnson & Johnson plans to recruit up to 60,000 participants around the world to assess their COVID-19 vaccine over the next two years.

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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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