Pharmacists are often the first, and in some cases, the only health care providers in rural Indiana communities.
Combatting misinformation and hesitancy regarding COVID-19 vaccines has been one of their greatest challenges, and the FDA’s decision Tuesday to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could make that work even harder.
Trevor Thain is the President of Topeka Pharmacy in northern Indiana. He serves a rural community with fewer than 1,500 residents.
“This is definitely something that is going to be a challenge," he said. "Not just my community, but any community.”
While his pharmacy has administered the Moderna vaccine, he still expects hesitancy to increase.
“It’s hard on the medical community when we’ve been assuring the community, you know the vaccines are safe, they’re all good," he said.
Thain says he’s afraid people will use the FDA’s decision as confirmation bias that all vaccines were rushed or unsafe.
While he understands the hesitancy, he and other pharmacists interviewed trust in proven scientific methods.
There’s no timeline for a final FDA decision, and health experts agree both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe.