Queen's Brian May details 'horrendous' COVID battle, urges vaccination

The guitarist credits his three Pfizer shots for helping him recover fast.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Queen guitarist Brian May is urging the public to get vaccinated, saying he believes the Pfizer vaccine saved him from death during a "horrendous" battle with the virus. May, 74, has been sharing photos and videos from his battle on his Instagram account, and says he even held back on sharing photos of himself at the worst stage of the disease, not wanting to scare his fans.

Over the weekend, May shared photos of an at-home COVID-19 test showing a positive result.

"It has been a truly horrible few days, but I'm OK," he wrote. "PLEASE take extra care out there, good folks. This thing is incredibly transmissible. You really do NOT want it messing up YOUR Christmas."

Over the next few days, May shared more photos and revealed that he and his wife, who have both been vaccinated and boosted, believe they were infected at a birthday lunch with friends. May had even taken a home test that morning showing he was negative.

"But yeah, you kinda know you're taking a risk," he says of attending the party, noting that the lunch was inside and masks weren't worn.

In a second video, May details how his symptoms developed on Sunday after the Saturday party, but he continued to test negative for the virus until Tuesday. He compared the virus to "the worst flu you could imagine" and said that he believes he would've been much worse off had he not been vaccinated. As it was, he says he couldn't get out of bed and was badly congested, feverish and coughing for two days.

"I'm feeling that my immune system, with the enormous help of three Pfizer jabs, is now winning the battle against the invader," May said.

"I'm here to tell you, if I may, it's not too scary," May said. "You can get it and, if you're jabbed, you can survive."

Well over half of 40 people at the party were infected inside of three days, May said. He says he's guessing the partygoers have the omicron variant based on the speed of spread and the symptoms -- noting that he never lost his ability to taste or his sense of smell.

May continued to share photos of the positive tests he is taking as well as monitoring his symptoms.

"It's a reminder that the Beast is still in my body," he wrote on Tuesday. "I can still feel it, too. Congestion, snuffles, slightly dizzy head. And it's not too late for the thing to kick back at me."

Back in August, May spoke out against fellow musician Eric Clapton, who has said he experienced "disastrous" side effects from the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, and refuses to play at venues requiring proof of vaccination.

"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," May said at the time.