Guitar legend Eric Clapton, whose active opposition to the COVID vaccine based on personal experience has roused the left’s ire, has stated he will refuse to play any venue that requires proof of vaccination before allowing entry. Clapton’s statement follows an announcement by United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson that, as of the end of this September vaccine passes, will be required for entry to nightclubs and larger venues.
Clapton, 76, has been attacked by leftist publications such as Rolling Stone and The Independent for airing his initial suspicions regarding the various vaccines, then detailing his own reaction. After receiving his first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca variant of the vaccine, Clapton stated:
“I went and had the jab … within several hours, I was shaking like a leaf and I went to bed early and I couldn’t get warm … and I thought, I’m running a fever. I was boiling hot and sweating and then I was cold, and I was out for the count for about a week.
“I had been preparing for a project where I was going to be playing acoustic guitar with a couple of musicians and we were going to film it. That week knocked me out and I had to start again from scratch. I was OK, but it didn’t come off as well as I would like to because, professionally, it was a huge setback …”
Nevertheless, Clapton agreed to take the second dose. Putting it mildly, it did not go well.
“Bit by bit I realized that I probably shouldn’t have had the first jab, but then I was offered the second and I thought, well … what’s the point in stopping now. So I went and had the second, and then it got really bad. Within about a week … my hands didn’t really work.”
Clapton, who suffers from incurable but thus far manageable peripheral neuropathy, spent weeks unable to properly function, let alone play guitar.
“[When I had the second jab] this ramped up from, on a scale of 10, say from three to eight or nine. Agony and chronic pain. When you know there’s nothing that will work, there’s no medication you can take that will help, it’s very, very frightening. And the worst thing is you don’t know when it’s going to wear off or when it’s going to go away.
“So that was what frightened me the most, medically, health-wise, and it still does because I have gigs to do, I have recording work to do, but I can’t touch the guitar to play … it’s not fun … and when I put it down, it’s there until I go to bed, and I take sleeping pills because I can’t sleep because of the pain. That’s not a good way to live.
“It’s not all due to the vaccine but the vaccine took my immune system and just shook it around again, and that’s still going on. Then I read a lot of the evidence that I had been reading about with people that were having adverse reactions, that was on the list … damage to the immune system.”
Although the symptoms gradually subsided to where Clapton could again play, he remains highly critical of both the vaccine and the heavy-handed government mandates to take same.
Clapton acknowledges that his stand has proved costly on a personal basis, yet believes it necessary to continue raising his voice.
“I believe most of all in free speech and freedom of movement, choice of movement and life and love and kindness and with all of this exposure to the polarization of politics and the medicine and the science, I found it very difficult to be neutral because I’ve seen scorn and contempt from both sides, and I get caught in the crossfire a lot.
“… I’m talking today on behalf of people like me who may be lost, maybe need to hear someone talk about it from a human point of view without condemnation … There has to be a way to bring people together. I believe music can do that, but it’s a long way away. There’s still time, I believe, for us to come together.”
Clapton has a brief US tour planned for this September. His next scheduled concert in the United Kingdom is May of next year at the Royal Albert Hall.
Clapton is the only three-time inductee in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, included as a solo artist and as a member of both Cream and The Yardbirds. Alongside Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and later Rory Gallagher, Clapton is universally revered as having popularized American blues in both Europe and America itself. His acceptance by the original electric blues artists such as B.B. King on a professional and personal level provides all possible testimony required. Clapton has overcome personal adversity such as drug addiction and the tragedy of losing his young son in a freak accident to become that rarity among artists in any genre: one hailed as a living legend who has actually earned the title.