Guitar master Eric Clapton has recently come out with a loaded new song called “This Has Gotta Stop” that many are interpreting as a rebuff to coronavirus-related mandates. Clapton has said in the past he would refuse to perform concerts at venues that require coronavirus vaccinations.
The 76-year-old musician’s new track is being seen as a screed against COVID restrictions– especially vaccinations and vaccine mandates. Clapton claims that there is “propaganda (that) said the vaccine was safe for everyone,” but that he suffered severe side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine that made him fear he “would never play again.”
The legendary classic rocker’s new song “This Has Gotta Stop” contains lyrics that seem to express an intense frustration with COVID-era life while making sure not to reference the pandemic directly by name:
“I can’t take this BS any longer / It’s gone far enough / You want to claim my soul, / you’ll have to come and break down this door.”
Some of the lyrics appear to describe his experience of side effects after taking the AstraZeneca vaccine:
“I knew that something was going on wrong / When you started laying down the law / I can’t move my hands, / I break out in sweat.”
The British guitarist has released a music video for the track, filled with heavy political imagery, like crowds of protestors marching with signs that say “Liberty,” “Enough Is Enough” and “Stop.” The video seems to encourage fans to resist COVID restrictions. When speaking about his vaccine side effects, Clapton said: “I’ve been a rebel all my life, against tyranny and arrogant authority, which is what we have now.”
Clapton previously released a track in collaboration with Irish musician Van Morrison titled “Stand and Deliver” as a rejection of lockdown restrictions and to raise money for the Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund that benefits out of work musicians.
“It is heartbreaking to see so many talented musicians lack any meaningful support from the government,” Morrison told Variety, “but we want to reassure them that we are working hard every day to lobby for the return of live music, and to save our industry.”
Morrison has released his own anti-lockdown songs in the past, including “Born To Be Free,” “As I Walked Out” and “No More Lockdown.”
Eric Clapton’s “This Has Gotta Stop” and the AstraZeneca vaccine
Although lockdowns, masking, and most COVID vaccines–including the Moderna and recently FDA approved Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine– are seen as safe and highly effective forms of protection against severe illness and death from the coronavirus, the AstraZeneca vaccine that Clapton received has caused a small number of people to experience side effects. Despite this, the risk involved in receiving the AstraZeneca is small.
Two specific clotting disorders have been linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine: cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), where clots form in the veins that drain blood from the brain, and splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT), where clots form in the abdominal veins. They’ve coincided with people having low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia), with CVST appearing more frequently.
To determine the risk posed by the vaccine, the key question is: are a higher percentage of people developing these rare clots after receiving the vaccine than would do so normally? Here’s what’s known so far.
As of April 4, 34 million AstraZeneca doses had been given in Europe, with 169 CVST and 53 SVT cases reported. In the UK up to the end of March, 20 million doses had been given, with 54 CVST and 25 SVT cases. Put together, this equals around one case of CVST per 240,000 doses and one of SVT per 690,000 doses.
A commonly quoted estimate for the background incidence of CVST is around one case per 200,000 people per year. Given the rate of CVST post-vaccination is higher than this, and rollout has only been going a couple of months, this does suggest a raised risk of clotting.
To put this in context, if every person in, say, Ireland (population 5 million) was to receive the vaccine, we might expect around 21 cases of CVST to occur. These would probably be on top of the 25 cases we’d expect to occur each year anyway, without vaccination. So the overall risk is very small.