Thursday December 09, 2021

Kimmich urged to get vaccinated in coronavirus debate

Published : 24 Oct 2021, 23:42

Updated : 24 Oct 2021, 23:45

  DF News Desk

Joshua Kimmich of Munich. Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa.

Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich was on Sunday urged to get vaccinated against the coronavirus because he is an important role model in the country, reported Xinhua.

Kimmich, 26, confirmed the previous day in a Sky TV interview that he was yet to get the jab, stating some concerns about possible long-term effects.

He also insisted he was no corona denier and did not rule out getting vaccinated in the near future.

"As a role model, but also as a fact, it would be better if he was vaccinated," former Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Bild-TV.

"I am convinced that he will get vaccinated in the near future which he has also announced."

Health expert Karl Lauterbach from the Social Democratic Party also told Kimmich.

"It is not good that he is not vaccinated. It is difficult when he says he is waiting," Lauterbach told broadcasters Sport1.

"It is Joshua Kimmich's own decision. We should not apply pressure but it would be very precious - because it would be an enormous symbol."

Vaccination is neither mandatory in Germany nor in the Bundesliga or its clubs.

But infection numbers are rising and Kimmich could be among those to convince other undecided people that getting vaccinated is the thing to do.

According to official records around 66 per cent of Germans are fully vaccinated. Health authorities aim for a vaccination rate of 85 per cent for the age group 12-59 and 90 per cent for those over 60.

Lauterbach and Rummenigge were among those who praised Kimmich for his social engagement as he and Munich team-mate Leon Goretzka have raised more than 6 million euros (7 million dollars) through their We Kick Corona charity which has also helped the United Nations buy vaccines for countries without them.

That charity was however launched in March 2020, long before vaccines became available.

Kimmich was also confronted by German immunologist Carsten Watzl with the fact that there is no such thing as long-term effects.

Watzl told dpa that any side-effects occur within weeks of a vaccination and that the reaction then ends and and the vaccine has left the boidy.

"Many people seem to understand that long-term effects are if I am vaccinated today and have a side-effect next year. That doesn't exist, has never existed and won't happen either with Covid-19 vaccination," Watzl said.

The debate is also heated because spectators are only allowed into stadiums under a strict hygiene protocols and at some clubs only if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered.

That excludes tested ones - while at the same time some players are not vaccinated and only tested.

The Bild paper, which had first suggested that Kimmich was not vaccinated. named it positive that Kimmich had been willing to explain himself.

But it added: "It would be much better if he would finally get vaccinated."

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said in an editorial Sunday that Kimmich's statements were "fatal as a message" and accused him of "profiting from a collective effort without participating in it.

"If everyone thought and acted like Kimmich society would never get out of the pandemic," the paper said.