Queen guitarist Brian May has begged his fans to get the Covid vaccine as he continues his ‘truly horrible’ battle with the illness.
The musician, 74, announced on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, sharing a picture of his lateral flow test result on Instagram, insisting he had made the ‘wrong decision’ to go to a birthday lunch with wife Anita Dobson, 72.
And on Sunday he took to the social media site to implore his followers to protect themselves against the virus by getting jabbed, adding that the ‘battle inside my body is still in progress’ as he detailed his symptoms.
Speaking out: Queen guitarist Brian May, 74, has begged his fans to get the Covid vaccine as he continues his ‘truly horrible’ battle with the illness
In a video, he said: ‘We decided we would go to a birthday lunch and we thought, well this is the last social function we would go to – not that we go to many anyway, we’ll chance it, everybody’s going to be triple-jabbed, everybody’s going to be with one of these things [lateral flow test] which says you’ll be negative on the morning.’
Brian said he did not wear a mask at the party as he thought it was in a bubble and therefore safe.
He explained that two days after the party he learned eight guests had tested positive for Covid and both he and Anita were starting to notice symptoms despite testing negative on their lateral flow tests.
Open book: Brian also wrote about his Covid experience in a separate Instagram post, saying: ‘My body was invaded by enough Coronavirus organisms to bring me down’
Unwanted result: The musician announced on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 , sharing a picture of his lateral flow test result on Instagram
Expressing his gratitude at having relatively mild symptoms, Brian told his fans: ‘I can’t emphasise to you enough: This is not the response that my body would have made on its own. It’s making this response because I’ve had three Pfizer jabs.
‘And I beg you, and implore you, to go and get jabbed if you’re not already. Because you need the help.
In a separate post, Brian wrote on the eighth day of his 10 day quarantine: ‘Day 8 for me – the 8th day after my body was invaded by enough Coronavirus organisms to bring me down.
Important message: On Sunday he took to the social media site to implore his followers to protect themselves against the virus by getting jabbed in a video
‘Firstly, I think I was a little too optimistic yesterday, imagining that the red “T“ line was looking fainter. It’s a different test kit today – but the lines look pretty much of equal intensity today.
‘So I’m assuming the battle inside my body is still in progress. It also feels like it – that dry wheezy cough has returned today, and there is a kind of fountain of irritation on one side of my sinuses.
‘I also keep falling asleep – not in a peaceful kind of way, but in a “I can’t keep my eyes open another second” kind of way. So it’s a damn good job this happened at a time when I’m NOT crazy busy as usual.’
Mistake: Brian said he’d made the ‘wrong decision’ to go to a birthday lunch with wife Anita Dobson, 72, where he believed the guests were vaccinated (pictured November)
He continued: ‘Sorry – this stuff isn’t entertaining any more – but I figure at least I can report it as info that might help somebody out there to feel less apprehensive.
‘I’m fundamentally OK. Just feeling a bit c**p and frustrated at not being able to be out and about at this time of year. But I think we’re all feeling a bit of that – right ?
‘And it’s so clear that the new Omicron variant is completely out of control in the UK. And probably in the whole world of humans.
‘Talking of which .. does anybody out there know WHICH variant they caught? I don’t.
‘I have been told that this information isn’t available from the NHS tests. If that’s the case, where are all these statistics coming from every day? I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who knows the answer to this.
On the mend? ‘It has been a truly horrible few days, but I’m OK. And I will tell the tale,’ May wrote, suggesting he was on the upswing
‘Cheers all, and good luck out there. I say again … it’s very apparent now that although the lateral flow test is a useful guide, if you get a negative result tomorrow morning, you cannot 100% guarantee that you are not infected and infectious all day.
‘So for the sake of everyone around you, keep the caution going – masks, social distance, common sense – and only go to a gathering in an enclosed space if you are really sure the risk is worth it.
‘As my dear Mum used to say (in half-jest) — ”Do as I say – not as I do!”‘
Brian told fans he had contracted coronavirus in an Instagram post last week.
‘Yep. The shocking day finally came for me. The dreaded double red line,’ he began his post.
The star included a close-up of what appeared to be a self-administered rapid antigen test.
He urged his fans not to bother with ‘sympathy’, as his condition seemed to be on the upswing.
‘It has been a truly horrible few days, but I’m OK. And I will tell the tale,’ he continued.
The musician urged his followers and fans to ‘PLEASE take extra care out there, good folks,’ as the novel coronavirus was ‘incredibly transmissible’.
‘You really do NOT want it messing up YOUR Christmas,’ he concluded, before signing off and wish his fans ‘love’.
Frenemies: The Queen guitarist told The Independent in August that Eric Clapton (pictured in 2020) and other anti-vaxxers are ‘fruitcakes’; Clapton seen in March 2020 in London
Brian has previously been vocal about his contempt for fellow guitarist Eric Clapton after he expressed anti-vaccine views and vowed not to perform in venues that require proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
‘I love Eric Clapton, he’s my hero, but he has very different views from me in many ways,’ Brian told The Independent in August. ‘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.’
He then defended the science on the value of vaccinations and described vaccine conspiracy theorists as ‘fruitcakes.’
‘Anti-vax people, I’m sorry, I think they’re fruitcakes,’ he said. ‘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.’
Safe and effective: May went on to defend the science behind vaccines. ‘On the whole, they’ve been very safe,’ he said; pictured in February 2020 in Sydney, Australia
The star’s positive test comes amid a rise in coronavirus cases in the UK as the Omicron variant continues to grow in prominence.
At least 91,743 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday as Omicron threatens to wreck Christmas, with scientists urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose increased restrictions in a bid to curb the virus.
Johnson has rolled out a booster vaccine programme to curb the spread of Omicron. The booster dose will reach all double-vaccinated adults – excluding those who are ineligible – by January 11
Brian is best known for his blistering solos and lead lines with the band Queen, which featured the late Freddie Mercury on vocals, Roger May on drums and John Deacon on bass.
The band experienced a renewed wave of popularity following the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody, which earned Rami Malek an Academy Award for his portrayal of Mercury.
Health troubles: May suffered a heart attack earlier this year, which he said could have killed him. He later suffered a stomach hemorrhage from his heart medications, though he has since said he’s doing well; pictured with Adam Lambert in 2019
In October 2020, Brian told Good Morning Britain ‘I nearly lost my life’ after he suffered a heart attack back in May, which required stents to be inserted to open blocked arteries.
He also admitted that he’d suffered a stomach haemorrhage, apparently as a result of the medications he was taking for his heart.
‘It was pretty bad, and the complications that came afterwards were pretty bad,’ he shared.
But the rocker added that he was focused on ‘cardio rehab’ now and said he was feeling much better.
‘I’m getting strong. I’m going to be Ironman soon,’ he joked.
Music makers: Brian (second from right) is pictured here with Queen band members Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury and John Deason in January 1978
CURRENT COVID-19 VACCINES
Three main types of vaccines have so far been used in the fight against Covid-19 around the world, but more are in trials and under development.
ADENOVIRUS VECTOR VACCINES
This type includes AstraZeneca, and uses a modified adenovirus to deliver DNA coded with a SARS‑CoV‑2 protein to spark the body’s immune system into action. A similar mechanism is also used in the Russian Sputnik V and Chinese Convidecia vaccines which have been rolled out in China, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Moldova, Belarus, Hungary, Serbia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. The US-made Johnson & Johnson jab is also the same type but was initially only a single-dose vaccine, until US authorities recommended a second booster shot in October 2021.
The two other vaccines currently approved in Australia – Pfizer and Moderna – both use this platform to deliver Covid-19 immunity. Both contain RNA or messenger RNA in a drop of fat which then causes some cells to develop a harmless version of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to kickstart the body’s resistance to the disease. Side effects are very rare but the vaccine needs to be stored at a very low temperature, which causes distribution challenges, especially in third world countries. A freeze-dried version is currently under development which would not need to be kept cold. It has been approved and used throughout the world except for a handful of countries including Russia and China.
INACTIVATED VIRUS VACCINES
These are more traditional forms of vaccines which take laboratory-cultivated Covid-19 virus particles and kill them with heat or formaldehyde but still retain the proteins needed to create an immune response when injected. It is the same type of technology that was used in the 19th and 20th century against cholera, plague, typhoid and rabies. It’s the mechanism behind the Chinese CoronaVac/Sinovac, BIBP and WIBP vaccines, India’s Covaxin, Russia’s Covivac, Kazakhstani QazVac, and Iran’s COVIran Barekat.
Often known as protein vaccines, this a controversial new technology which just uses a small piece of protein to create the immune response. Critics claim the proteins may be too small to be recognised by the human immune system. The vaccines are largely still in testing, but Russia has authorised its EpiVacCorona for use, along with Turkmenistan. China, Uzbekistan, Indonesia and Malaysia are also using a Chinese version, ZF2001. The US-produced Covovax has been undergoing trials in Australia, Mexico and India and has been authorised in Indonesia and the Philippines.
These nasal spray vaccines are the holy grail against Covid – easy to distribute and easy to use, with no needle fear. So far there are no nasal spray vaccines for Covid-19, but there is one for the flu – brand-name FluMist in the US and FluEnz in Europe – which may see a Covid version developed eventually.
New technologies that are being developed that could be used in the fight against Covid include virus-like particles, which mimic the virus without including any virus material, DNA vaccines which uses genetically modified cells to re-write the body’s blueprint to fight the disease, lentivirus vaccines which inject new genes into the body to make it immune, conjugate vaccines which is a two-pronged varied of protein vaccines, and using a harmless variant of the rabies virus vesicular stomatitist – currently used as a ‘trojan horse virus’ to help fight AIDS – which also carries the Covid-19 spike protein.