Eric Clapton Refuses To Play Where Covid-19 Vaccination Is Required

“Oh my darling, are you vaccinated tonight,” is apparently what musician Eric Clapton doesn’t want concert venues to ask.

After U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said something about Covid-19 vaccination requirements, Clapton didn’t seem to take it Layla-ing down. During a press conference on Monday, Johnson announced, “I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over 18s have had their chance to be double jabbed we’re planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.”

Clapton, who’s otherwise known as Slow Hand, had a rather quick response to Johnson. “Following the PM’s announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021 I feel honor-bound to make an announcement of my own,” Clapton said, according to John Blistein for Rolling Stone. “I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present. Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.”

Yes, Clapton used the word “discriminated.” But he didn’t seem to be referring to discrimination against certain racial or ethnic groups or immigrants. No, looks like he was referring to people who are not vaccinated against Covid-19, even though treating people who aren’t vaccinated differently is not the same as treating people of a different skin color differently. After all, you don’t use discrimination when talking about other requirements designed protect public health such as discriminating against people who pee in your soup.

So if you planning on attending a Clapton concert, you could end up being side-to-side with a whole lot of people who didn’t get their shots, whether they are the sheriff, the deputy, or anyone else. Not only that. They may be singing “you know it’s just your foolish pride,” at the top of their lungs, potentially spewing out the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) into the air if they are infected. Clapton may have been part of some super-groups in the 1960’s. But such a situation could become super in different way, as in a superspreader event way, especially with the more transmissible Delta variant of the SARS-CoV2 actively circulating.

Clapton’s response to Johnson led to his name trending on Twitter. There were tweets praising Clapton’s response from people, bots, or some combination of the two such as:

But there were also plenty of unfavorable reactions such as:


Other tweets on Monday highlighted Clapton’s use of the word “discriminated” in his response to Johnson and referenced Clapton’s 1976 racial-epithet laden outburst at a concert. As detailed by Tom Sykes for the Daily Beast, the 1976 rant included statements like, “Stop Britain from becoming a black colony, get the foreigners out,” and “Keep Britain white, I used to be into dope, now I’m into racism.” Whoa. Saying that you are “into racism” is not quite the same as saying that you are into marijuana.

While the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic continues, continuing to go unvaccinated can be essentially like saying “Hello Old Friend” and “Let It Grow” to the SARS-CoV2. It can leave you unprotected. Being fully vaccinated will substantially reduce your risk of getting more severe Covid-19. However, your protection against Covid-19 does depend on what percentage of people around you are vaccinated. After all, the Covid-19 vaccine is not like a full-body concrete condom. It doesn’t offer 100% protection.

So if you want to attend a concert, it’s best to stick to venues where others are going to fully vaccinated as well, even if you are already fully vaccinated, unless other Covid-19 precautions such as face masks and social distancing are in place. How do you determine whether a given venue fits that bill? Well, here’s a possibility:

This certainly isn’t the first time that Clapton has made some noise against Covid-19 precautions. He recorded what was described by Ellise Shafer for Variety as an “anti-lockdown” song called “Stand and Deliver” that was written by Van Morrison and released in December 2020. The song included such lyrics as “Do you wanna be a free man/ Or do you wanna be a slave?/ Do you wanna wear these chains/ Until you’re lying in the grave?” Hmm, not exactly a rendition of “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. This “Stand and Deliver” song didn’t exactly “deliver” either on what the U.K. was supposed to do instead when the Covid-19 coronavirus was spreading out of control in 2020.

Then in May 2021, Daniel Kreps wrote an article for Rolling Stone entitled, “Eric Clapton’s Anti-Vaccine Diatribe Blames ‘Propaganda’ for ‘Disastrous’ Experience.” Clapton had written a letter to Robin Monotti Graziadei and it wasn’t about anyone “brushing her long blonde hair.” Graziadei is an Italian architect and a film producer based in London. Based on available photographs, it also doesn’t appear that he has long blonde hair either.

Instead the letter reportedly said the following about Clapton getting the two Astra-Zeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccine doses: “I took the first jab of AZ and straight away had severe reactions which lasted ten days. I recovered eventually and was told it would be twelve weeks before the second one.” Then the letter continued with, “About six weeks later I was offered and took the second AZ shot, but with a little more knowledge of the dangers. Needless to say the reactions were disastrous, my hands and feet were either frozen, numb or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks, I feared I would never play again, (I suffer with peripheral neuropathy and should never have gone near the needle.) But the propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone.”

Of course, a letter from a guitarist is not the same as a medical report. So it’s not AZ if Clapton’s letter alone is enough to verify that what he described was actually related to the Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Even if he did have a reaction to the vaccine, no product is without possible risks, and major side effects to date have been rather rare.

Relying on Clapton for medical or public health advice could be a bit like using a toilet plunger as a guitar. Just because you like an artist’s song doesn’t mean that you will like what he has to say. The following tweet seemed to reflect that viewpoint:

Similarly, just because Clapton composed and sang the song that they played at your high school prom, doesn’t mean that he has knowledge about medicine and public health. In other words, “Wonderful Tonight” doesn’t automatically make all of his statements wonderful.


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