Minnesota man who experienced adverse effects from J&J shot: ‘One of the worst things I have felt my life’

One day after use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination is put on pause in Minnesota and dozens of other states, a Minnesotan shares his experience and concerns.

"I’m a normal 34-year-old guy and I was absolutely petrified," Ben Goodlund said.

As a front-line essential worker with no known allergies or underlying health conditions, Goodlund says he was excited to get the COVID-19 vaccination last Friday.

"I was totally, totally fine for the first 5-5 1/2 hours," he recalls.

That’s when everything went downhill, fast.

After getting the Johnson & Johnson shot at 1 p.m. he had extreme body-shaking chills by 8:30 p.m., a severe headache by 10 p.m. and such excruciating pain in his feet and legs he says he could hardly walk.

"I had pain which I’ve never ever had before in the bottom of my feet and my toes, in the back of my legs both front and back," he said.

He said by 2:30 a.m. he was in the emergency room with a 103.9-degree fever.

He says doctors treated him with IV fluids and medicines, and five hours later he was back at home.

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"This is hands down one of the worst things I have felt my life," Goodlund said.

While his symptoms went away after four days, he says news of the Johnson & Johnson pause is now raising even more concerns.

"There’s absolutely no way that I would go back and allow myself, or frankly anyone that I really care about, to get this shot," he said.

Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents just 5% of the total vaccines administered, and the six cases that put the shot on pause are out of more than 6 million doses given.

"What this individual describes, I’m not sure that it fits the bill of why the FDA and CDC put a pause on the vaccine, but certainly he did everything right (by seeking medical help)," Ehresmann said.

People with Johnson & Johnson appointments scheduled through the state system will be contacted soon, Ehresmann said. Others should check in with their health care providers to reschedule their appointments or see if other shots are available that day.

Ehresmann said despite Goodlund’s experience, vaccinating is still the best way to stay healthy.

Goodlund isn’t so sure.

"My advice is plain and simple, think twice, think absolutely twice, think this through, you are your own best advocate," Goodund said.