In addition to being one of the most successful musicians of all-time, May is a man of science with a doctorate in astrophysics from Imperial College in London. Speaking recently to The Independent, May had to shake his head when he was asked about Clapton and others who oppose vaccination.
“I love Eric Clapton, he’s my hero, but he has very different views from me in many ways,” May said. “He's a person who thinks it’s OK to shoot animals for fun, so we have our disagreements, but I would never stop respecting the man. Anti-vax people, I’m sorry, I think they’re fruitcakes. There’s plenty of evidence to show that vaccination helps. On the whole they’ve been very safe. There’s always going to be some side effect in any drug you take, but to go around saying vaccines are a plot to kill you, I’m sorry, that goes in the fruitcake jar for me.”
Clapton had been a vocal opponent of pandemic lockdowns in the U.K., despite more than 130,000 COVID-related deaths in the country. Then, after having an adverse reaction to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine this spring, the three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer began repeating several discredited theories about the vaccines, like that they cause infertility.
When U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last month that the country would begin requiring vaccine certificates for entry into some entertainment venues, starting in September, Clapton released a statement saying he would cancel any gig for which vaccination is required to enter.
Clapton and May both agree — albeit for different reasons — that PM Johnson has done an abhorrent job to this point of handling the pandemic. May said Johnson's early skepticism about the severity of COVID-19 directly led to "hundreds, if not thousands" of deaths.
While Johnson eventually changed his tune on the pandemic after he was hospitalized with the virus last year, May says the damage he caused is incalculable.
"I think it would have been impossible for anyone to make worse decisions than Boris," he said. "At every point he did too little, too late. ...If he'd taken the precautions of shutting down the borders a year earlier, we wouldn't have been in the situation we were."