Minnesota man walks with cane, in constant pain after getting J&J shot

Randy Luedtke told Alpha News his life "changed dramatically" two weeks after receiving Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine.

Randy Luedtke, pictured here before and after getting vaccinated, said his life "changed dramatically" after receiving the J&J shot. (Photos provided to Alpha News)

Like many Minnesotans, Randy Luedtke wasn’t sure what to think in the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 first reached America’s shores.

“We thought it was H1N1, the swine flu. What the heck is this? It will be gone in a month,” Luedtke remembered thinking.

At the time, the active 60-year-old in the tourism industry wasn’t too worried about getting infected.

“I never suspected, like many, it would last as long as it did. They just shut down everything — schools, family, and tourism. It was really a challenging time for people,” he said.

More than a year later, Luedtke was helping kids with disabilities in his school district when he decided to receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“I got the vaccination Aug. 3 of 2021,” Luedtke said as he looked at his vaccine card.

“I thought, well, gosh, working with young children in our district, I thought that OK I’ll finally give into it,” he said. “It was a couple of weeks later my life changed dramatically.”

He said he came home after a day at work and his knees started to burn from the inside out.

“If it was one knee, I was like OK, knee replacement or an ACL or something — or a tick or something. I didn’t expect they’d both be burning with the same consequences at the same time,” he said.

Within months, Luedtke needed a cane to walk as the pain and inflammation spread throughout his body.

Randy Luedtke talks with Alpha News reporter Liz Collin during a recent interview. (Alpha News)

He finally found some relief and answers from a doctor at a small clinic in southern Minnesota.

“I went in and told him my story. He said, ‘You got the vaccination, didn’t you?’ He goes, ‘You’re one of many that I’m starting to see come through here,'” Luedtke said.

Luedtke said nearly 100 people are being treated at the clinic for what his doctor believes are vaccine side effects. That doctor declined to comment to Alpha News publicly.

The clinic acknowledged it’s a touchy subject that can get medical professionals in trouble.

“I’ve had a couple of hip replacements over my lifetime, but they say possibly with transplants, that metal might be loose in your body and that vaccination may have attacked, they’re calling it. Kind of like your body has been poisoned,” he said.

This past spring, several vaccine-injured Minnesotans shared their stories at the Capitol in St. Paul, backing a vaccine bill of rights that was never put up for a vote.

Luedtke said he regrets being vaccinated.

“I live with this every day and I don’t know what the future holds,” he said, choking back tears.

It’s been a year and Luedtke still doesn’t know if the pain will ever fully subside.

But he felt it was time to speak out and hopes others will now feel more comfortable coming forward.

“I gave in. I gave into the hype. You remember the days, the free gift card, they were even offering free college tuition,” Luedtke said.

“It was desperation on their part. Come one, come all, get something in return,” he said. “I hope I can be an advocate for a lot of people. If you have issues, get your butt out here. Let’s talk about it because there’s power in numbers.”


Liz Collin

Liz Collin has been a truth-teller for 20 years as a multi-Emmy-Award-winning reporter and anchor. Liz is a Worthington, Minnesota native who lives in the suburbs with her husband, son and loyal lab.