Cancer survivors, like Dickinson, are generally considered immune compromised and at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Dickinson abruptly canceled the last two dates of his spoken-word tour in the U.K. because a member of his household had tested positive for the virus. He went into quarantine, and soon developed symptoms himself. At first he was convinced he just had a cold.
“I was kind of sneezing a bit,” Dickinson told Rolling Stone. “These lateral-flow tests came back negative, negative, negative, and suddenly like, ‘Oh, it’s not a cold.’”
As his symptoms set in, Dickinson said he had a couple of "groggy" days, but then he started feeling better.
"And I'm 63 years old," he added. "I've got pretty much no doubt that had I not had the vaccine, I could be in serious trouble."
When prodded about how vaccination intersects with his main profession as a heavy metal singer, Dickinson called vaccination a "personal choice," but he hopes more people make the choice to get the shot.
"Personally, I think people are just very badly advised if they don't go and get themselves double jabbed as quickly as possible, not for the reasons of going into concerts, but for their own health.
“You cannot legislate against mortality,” he continued. “There are many things in this world that kill people and they’re not illegal but are unfortunate. Cancer kills a lot of people. Heart attacks kill a lot of people. Obesity kills a lot of people. Malaria kills a shitload of people every year. ... So at some point, we have to just go, ‘We’re probably going to have to live with this. And if we’re going to live with it, then you have your vaccination.’”
Breakthrough infections of COVID-19 are not common, but as with any vaccine, they are possible. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 99.9 percent of fully-vaccinated people have not had a severe breakthrough case of COVID-19.