Eric Clapton says he won’t play any venue where fans are required to be vaccinated
English musician Eric Clapton said that he does not plan on performing at any shows requiring audience members to provide proof of vaccination after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that such a requirement will be enforced for crowded venues later this year.
The three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee shared his announcement in a Telegram post Tuesday from the account of film producer and architect Robin Monotti, who, like Clapton, has expressed doubts about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Following the PM’s announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021 I feel honour bound to make an announcement of my own,” Clapton wrote. “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,” he added.
Johnson on Monday stated that starting at the end of September, when “all over 18s will have had their chance to be double jabbed,” people entering British nightclubs or other crowded venues will need to provide proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again as they have elsewhere,” he said, noting that roughly 35 percent of Britons ages 18 to 30 remained unvaccinated.
“But it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing,” the prime minister added.
Johnson has received pushback from members of the hospitality and entertainment industries over the plans, with the head of U.K. Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, telling the BBC this week that COVID-19 passports “will be a costly burden that run the risk of creating flashpoints between staff and customers, as well as raising potential issues with equalities legislation and the handling of customer data.”
Clapton has previously opposed government campaigns to get as many people vaccinated as possible, writing in a May letter shared on Telegram that he had “disastrous” reactions after getting vaccinated himself.
“I took the first shot of [the AstraZeneca vaccine] and immediately had severe reactions that lasted ten days, I finally recovered and was told it would take twelve weeks before the second,” he wrote at the time.
The 76-year-old added that “his hands and feet were either frozen, numb or hot, and pretty much useless for two weeks,” and that he was “worried that I would never play again.”
Despite reports of some side effects with the AstraZeneca vaccine, including rare blood clots, health experts have continued to maintain that the reactions are relatively uncommon, and that the benefits of being protected against COVID-19 outweigh the potential risk of side effects. The vaccine has not been approved for use in the U.S.