Musician loses 8 fingers after receiving J&J vaccine

“I was told that I would die. [My fingers] were turning green and black I guess," Jeff Diamond said.

Jeff Diamond, pictured here in 2016, said he's taking things day-by-day and doing the best he can. (Jeff Diamond)

For 60 years, Jeff Diamond has been known for his extraordinary guitar-playing talents and signature soulful voice. He says countless audiences around the world call him “the human jukebox.”

The Minnesota-native has performed all the hits from feel-good oldies to R&B, soul, country, and even hip-hop. While Diamond is skillful at most instruments, he especially has a love for the guitar.

Jeff Diamond’s second album. (Jeff Diamond)

At just 70-years-young, Diamond said he still has unfinished business touring and performing at all sorts of venues, but it’s all now in question after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on July 9, 2021.

Diamond told Alpha News within two weeks of getting the jab, someone found him unconscious in his apartment. He was rushed to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale where he ultimately stayed for more than six weeks.

“I had blood clots that formed in my hands and in my fingers as well as in my legs and feet, amongst other things I didn’t have. I lost all balance and coordination, and my kidney function was down to zero,” he explained.

Because of damage caused by clotting, doctors amputated eight of Diamond’s fingers while he was in a coma.

It’s unknown whether the vaccine was linked to Diamond’s injuries, but one doctor told him it’s a “possibility.” Blood clots are a known side effect of the J&J vaccine. Earlier this year, the FDA limited who can receive the J&J shot because of concerns about the risk of a rare blood-clotting condition.

“I was told that I would die. [My fingers] were turning green and black. Now, again, that’s what I was told … I’m just going by what I was told after the fact,” he said.

Apart from Diamond’s amputated fingers, his kidneys were barely functioning and his singing voice was impaired because he was intubated.

Nearly a year later, the musician’s fingers are still in pain. He hopes prosthetic fingers will get him back to playing the guitar, though he admits they “look great but the functionality is not.”

Diamond has gone back to playing keyboard for the time being even though it’s difficult. His singing voice is gradually coming back, too.

The artist told Alpha News he only got the vaccine because he didn’t want to risk infecting his elderly mother. Now, he regrets it.

“I’m not trying to crawl into a ball or think about committing suicide,” he said. “I’m just living day to day and taking what comes … and doing the best I can.”

As of today, Diamond continues to teach voice lessons online. He’s also taking any gigs he can even if it means performing shorter hours and sometimes having to hire a guitarist or keyboard player.

Diamond has a GoFundMe page to raise money for custom-designed artificial fingers that will help him play the guitar again.

In April, several vaccine-injured Minnesotans came forward to share their stories during a press conference at the Capitol. They urged legislators to pass the GOP-backed “Vaccine Bill of Rights,” which would have prohibited vaccine mandates and discrimination against the unvaccinated. The bill was never put up for a vote.


Pafoua Yang

Pafoua Yang is a reporter for Alpha News. She has worked as an on-air reporter for stations across the Twin Cities.