Eric Clapton is a talented singer, songwriter and musician. He is an outstanding guitarist. During this pandemic, however, he has been advocating some dangerous ideas. I have to disagree strongly with the British musician's position on vaccines. His stance is not only unhelpful, it is extremely harmful. Here's why I feel compelled to take him to task.
Clapton has stated that he will not perform at venues where coronavirus vaccine proof is required. He is a vaccination skeptic and has been very critical of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that passes would be mandatory before entering nightclubs and other live entertainment sites.
Clapton issued the following statement on the Telegram account of his fellow vaccination skeptic, film producer and architect Robin Monotti: "Following the PM'S announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021, I feel honor-bound to make an announcement of my own. I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where this is a discriminated audience present. Unless there is a provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show."
I am diametrically opposed to Clapton's point of view for many reasons. First of all, it is unscientific. Vaccines have been proven to work and they stop the spread of COVID-19. It is a fact that in the United Stares, there is a higher number of COVID cases in states where fewer people have been vaccinated. (According to a July 13, 2021 CNBC analysis, more than half of the counties in Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana have low vaccination rates and elevated levels of COVID cases). Secondly, if all live entertainers agreed with Clapton, there would be many unvaccinated individuals attending live performances. Live performances, including Clapton's, would quickly become super spreaders. Thirdly, prohibiting unvaccinated people from attending live concerts is not intended to punish them or discriminate against them. It is meant to protect the unvaccinated from contracting COVID-19. It is also meant to stop those who have the virus from spreading it to others.
Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated is not a matter of freedom. Freedom is not absolute and no one has the right or the freedom to infect others with a potentially lethal virus. This pandemic is not over. We are not out of the woods yet. Much of the progress made has been due to lockdowns, masks and vaccines. Unfortunately, the Delta variant has reared its ugly head and is threatening to undo some of the progress that has been made. We can't afford to let that happen.
Some young people are reluctant to get vaccinated. They think that COVID=19 is not a serious threat to their well. Because they are young and healthy, they feel invincible. Those who think it is not much worse than an ordinary flu should speak to the families who have lost loved ones under 30 years of age to COVID.
As a popular musician, Eric Clapton has a great deal of influence over his fans and admirers. They will take into account what he says, and his words will cause many people to refuse vaccinations. I am not a famous musician, but I do not hesitate to challenge Eric Clapton on his point of view. His opinion on vaccinations is wrong wrong wrong. It is dangerous.
According to The Guardian, Clapton has actually received the AstraZeneca vaccine and has complained about "severe" reactions after receiving his shot. The fact is that most people do experience some side effects from vaccines, but isn't that preferable to being hooked up to a ventilator and dying in an intensive care unit?
Eric Clapton recently collaborated with Van Morrison in an anti-lockdown song called "Stand and Deliiver" The song is is is critical of COVD-19 restrictions such as face masks. It contains the following lyrics. "Do you want to be a free man/Or do you want to be a slave?/Do you wanna wear these chains/Until you're lying in the grave?" All I can say to that is that you may very well be lying i a grave if you don't wear a mask and you don't get vaccinated.
Eric Clapton has some North American concert dates set for this September. If vaccination is not a requirement, you will be vulnerable to the virus if you attend any of his performances or the performances of entertainers who share his sentiments about vaccines.