Eric Clapton said the COVID-19 vaccine left him thinking that his musical career was over.
The singer-guitarist made the revelation in a letter to anti-lockdown activist Robin Monotti Graziadei, who shared the correspondence with Clapton's permission.
"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, according to Rolling Stone.
However, six weeks later the 76-year-old British music icon noted that he was offered the second shot and, having "a little more knowledge on the dangers," decided to have the jab.
"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," Clapton said, adding that he should "never have gone near the needle" given that he suffers from peripheral neuropathy. "But the propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone,” he wrote.
In the letter, Clapton also praised "heroes" like anti-lockdown proponent, U.K. politician Desmond Swayne, and YouTube channels many believe tout conspiracy theories.
"I continue to tread the path of passive rebellion and try to tow [sic] the line in order to be able to actively love my family, but it’s hard to bite my tongue with what I now know," Clapton continued. "Then I was directed to Van [Morrison]; that’s when I found my voice, 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."
Clapton was referring to a collaboration between himself and Morrison. The duo teamed up last year to release the anti-lockdown song "Stand and Deliver."
"Eric’s recording is fantastic and will clearly resonate with the many who share our frustrations," Morrison said in a statement via his group Save Live Music.
A spokesperson for the MHRA, which is the U.K. governing body that oversees the vaccine, declined to comment to Rolling Stone on Clapton's claims but stated 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 program that has ever taken place in this country."
MHRA further said "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."
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