Eric Clapton believes the theory that people who opted to get vaccinated against COVID-19 fell for "mass formation hypnosis".

The 'Layla' hitmaker - who previously revealed he lost friends due to his anti-vaccine stance - has claimed that subliminal messaging hidden in advertising led people to get the jab.

In an interview for The Real Music Observer YouTube channel, he said: “I didn’t get the memo.

"Whatever the memo was, it hadn’t reached me. Then I started to realise there was really a memo, and a guy, Mattias Desmet [professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium], talked about it. And it’s great. The theory of mass formation hypnosis. And I could see it then. Once I kind of started to look for it, I saw it everywhere.

“Then I remembered seeing little things on YouTube which were like subliminal advertising. It had been going on for a long time: that thing about ‘you will own nothing and you will be happy.’ And I thought, ‘What’s that mean?’ And bit by bit, I put a rough kind of jigsaw puzzle together. And that made me even more resolute."

Psychologists have insisted there is no evidence to suggest a “mass formation psychosis” has occurred amid the global pandemic.

The 76-year-old guitar legend is anti-lockdown and had pledged not to perform at gigs where proof of immunisation against coronavirus is required to attend, despite being double-jabbed.

And his controversial views on the pandemic and teaming up with Van Morrison on the anti-lockdown protest song, 'Stand and Deliver', saw Clapton's friends and peers snub him.

The 'Wonderful Tonight' hitmaker - who is father to daughters Ruth, 37, Julie, 20, Ella, 19, and 16-year-old Sophie - said: "My family and friends think I am a crackpot anyway.

"Over the last year, there's been a lot of disappearing - a lot of dust around, with people moving away quite quickly.

"It has, for me, refined the kind of friendship I have.

"And it's dwindled down to the people that I obviously really need and love.

"Inside my family, that became quite pivotal ... I've got teenage girls, and an older girl who's in he thirties - and they've all had to kind of give me leeway because I haven't been able to convince any of them."

Clapton - who is married to Melia McEnery - added: "I would try to reach out to fellow musicians and sometimes I just don't hear from them.

"My phone doesn't ring very often.

"I don't get that many texts and emails anymore."