Eric Clapton: "I feared I would never play again" after Covid vaccine

Eric Clapton
(Image credit: Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images)

Eric Clapton has detailed his experiences of being vaccinated against COVID-19 in a letter, claiming his reactions to it were “disastrous”, at one point fearing he'd never play guitar again.

The outspokenly anti-lockdown guitar legend, 76, didn't hold back in his letter to fellow anti-lockdown activist Robin Monotti Graziadei, verified by Rolling Stone (Monotti had originally shared it on his Telegram with Clapton’s permission). 

In the letter Clapton detailed the side effects he claims to have experienced after receiving the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

"Needless to say the reactions were disastrous"

“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…,” Clapton wrote. “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…”

In the letter, Clapton revealed where some of his "knowledge of the dangers" may have been discovered, citing figures including anti-lockdown UK politician Desmond Swayne as “heroes” and making reference to YouTube channels Hugotalks and Talk Radio.

Clapton also cites his collaboration last year with Van Morrison on anti-lockdown song Stand And Deliver.  

"I was directed to Van M, that’s when I found my voice," wrote Clapton and ,"even though I was singing his words, they echoed in my heart... I recorded Stand And Deliver in 2020, and was immediately regaled with contempt and scorn..."

Warming to the theme, Clapton quotes lyrics from Morrison's recent song Where Have All The Rebels Gone? before ending the letter; "I’ve been a rebel all my life, against tyranny and arrogant authority, which is what we have now, but I also crave fellowship, compassion and love, and that I find here...I believe with these things we can prevail."

Clapton's representatives are yet to comment further on the letter. 

The MHRA, the UK government body responsible for the AZ vaccine, didn't comment on Clapton's woes but reiterated that “over 56 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 have now been administered in the UK, saving thousands of lives through the biggest vaccination programme that has ever taken place in this country.

“Our advice remains that the benefits of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca outweigh the risks in the majority of people. It is still vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination when invited to do so.”


MusicRadar is the number one website for music-makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, DJs or producers...

  • GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high-quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts.
  • TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars.
  • STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the craft of music-making that no other music website can.