After loudly voicing his criticism of the coronavirus vaccine, Eric Clapton has contracted COVID-19.
Announced via his Facebook page, Clapton’s team revealed he has been “suffering from COVID” since testing positive “shortly after” his game at the Royal Albert Hall.
“He was told by his medical advisors that if we traveled and performed again too soon, it could significantly delay his full recovery,” the statement said.
The shows in Zurich, Switzerland, and Milan, Italy, on May 17 and 18 have been postponed, they announced “after intense internal discussions.”
Clapton, 77, has stirred some controversy since the pandemic began by refusing to play at music events that require vaccines and donating to anti-vaccine bands.
“It is very frustrating that Eric, having avoided COVID during lockdown and throughout the period that travel restrictions have been in place, should have succumbed to COVID at this point, but we really hope he recovers sufficiently by the end of the week will recover to carry out the remainder of the scheduled performances,” the statement continued.
People in the comments section shared mixed reviews of the news, with some rebuking that he should have been further vaccinated while others sending well wishes.
“Maybe he should have gotten the vaccine,” wrote one person, who received 77 reactions. (Clapton was inoculated with AstraZeneca in February 2021, Rolling Stone reported.)
“I love Clapton’s blues. Less enthusiastic about his anti-vax attitude. Still, I hope he gets better soon,” said another.
“It’s frustrating for him, who is also suffering from the side effects of the injection. Poor Eric,” commented one fan.
Clapton’s team promised further announcements regarding the postponed shows, promising they will happen within the next six months.
“Eric is also keen to avoid spreading infection to his band, crew, promoters, their staff and of course the fans,” the post reads.
The announcement comes after the musician’s recent claim that people vaccinated against COVID-19 are under “hypnosis.”
Appearing on the Real Music Observer YouTube channel, he spoke about how pharmaceutical “propaganda” convinced him to take AstraZeneca’s vaccine last year.
“Whatever the memo was, it hadn’t gotten through to me,” he said, referring to a “mass education hypnosis” conspiracy theory widely supported by the anti-vaccine community.
After receiving his vaccine dose in 2021, he claimed in a letter he had “severe reactions that lasted ten days”. In the same letter to architect and anti-lockdown activist Robin Monotti Graziadei, Clapton said he “never should have gone near the needle”.
“I continue to walk the path of passive rebellion and try to draw the line to be able to actively love my family, but it’s hard to bite my tongue with what I know now,” he wrote.
He has been open about the “dangers” of vaccines and said in the Real Music Observer video that his feelings scared his family and friends.
“I think they were afraid for me,” he said. “My family and friends think I’m a weirdo anyway.”
While he was alienated from family and friends alike, he was also shunned by his own peers, saying he no longer listens to other musicians.
“I would try to reach out to other musicians and sometimes I just don’t hear from them,” he said. “My phone doesn’t ring very often. I don’t get as many texts and emails anymore.”
Despite some disapproval from his musical peers, he has teamed up with British rockers Jam for Freedom, to whom he donated $1,360 via GoFundMe to help cover the costs of “violating COVID regulations” at a show. He also loaned the band a six-person Volkswagen Transporter so they could travel to shows.
But even Clapton’s firm anti-vaccine and anti-mandates stance collapsed. In September, the musician played at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, though he vowed never to play anywhere that required vaccines or tested negative for COVID. At the time, the Smoothie King Center required employees and visitors over the age of 12 to present proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours of the performance.