BEAVERTON, Ore. — A Beaverton woman developed rare blood clots after getting the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month.
Barbara Buchanan opted for the J&J vaccine because she would only need one shot. She figured it was a safe choice since experts ruled the vaccine safe after a 10-day pause to investigate rare blood clots.
She then started to develop the blood clots herself.
"It was devastating I was very scared that I was never going to see my home again or my family, " Buchanan said. She spent about a week at the hospital and was released Monday.
The 63-year-old first noticed symptoms six to eight days after her shot.
"I had a low grade temperature and I just felt really tired," said Buchanan. "I thought I was suffering from seasonal allergies."
She also felt severe cramping in her legs she thought that was due to her arthritis. But then she coughed up huge amounts of blood, and went to Emergency Room at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.
"Doctors came and listened to my lungs and immediately sent me for a CAT scan,” Buchanan explained. They later told her they found blood clots in her lungs, stomach, brain and throat.
"There has been an association with a very small number of people getting this vaccine that can get this special kind of blood clot with low platelets", said Dr. Ray Moreno, Chief Medical Officer at the St. Vincent.
Moreno says Buchanan had blood clots with low platelets, the pattern seen in cases the CDC and FDA initially paused the J&J vaccine for. Dr. Moreno says it’s very rare and people shouldn't be afraid of getting the vaccine.
"There’s also some risk in what we do in medicine but we really try to recommend the things that have a lot of benefit and very small risk," said Moreno.
The clots are still in her body so she'll continue to be on blood thinners. She hopes her experience will lead to more research for women in her age group.