For some Americans, their only option for a coronavirus vaccine was the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and a setback in the rollout of the treatment is causing some to lose hope in inoculations all together.
That’s the case for 58-year-old Karilynn Buchan of Park Forest, Illinois.
We met her in December 2020 during the filming of NBC 5’s four-part docuseries: “Vaccinated State.”
During the interviews for the series, Buchan explained how she was allergic to the ingredients in Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, which use mRNA technology and contain polyethylene glycol, known as "PEG."
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses a more traditional approach to activate an immune response, and was the only option for Buchan that didn’t come with a high risk of a severe allergic reaction.
Now that the FDA has recommended pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution because of blood clot concerns, which have afflicted six individuals out of nearly 7 million doses administered, Buchan says she is heartbroken.
“This is just heartbreaking. I don’t understand it,” said Buchan. “I said back then that I trusted the science, which is true. I trust the mRNA science.”
Buchan has made the decision to rethink getting the vaccine all together, fearing possible side effects.
It’s important to note that scientists say blood clot cases are extremely rare, but that won’t change Buchan’s mind.
Buchan has a newly diagnosed heart condition that makes her “high risk” for COVID-19.
She’s been confined to her home for the last year because of these conditions.
Now, fears over being left behind are returning as she watches others in her family get inoculated.
When asked if she would take the vaccine if the FDA were to rule J & J safe, Buchan initially said “absolutely not.”
She went on to say that she’ll have to wait to see what happens in ongoing trials.