October 26 – Bayern Munich captain Joshua Kimmich has ignited another debate over vaccination against Covid-19 in Germany after he admitted he is not yet vaccinated.
The Bayern star argues he has concerns about “a lack of long-term studies” into the effects of the vaccines, but added that it’s “very possible that I will get vaccinated”.
His stance comes as a surprise because the player set up the ‘We Kick Corona’ fundraising campaign with teammate Leon Goretzka in March 2020. The pair raised millions for social and charitable organisations during the pandemic.
“We also donated to UNICEF, who made vaccines available. The point was that there are also countries that do not have access to vaccines,” said Kimmich. “I think everyone should make the decision for themselves and it cannot be that someone has no access. Because if you make the decision to do so, then you should do everything you can to ensure that they can get the vaccine.”
“I think that’s a shame about the debate, that it’s only about being vaccinated or not vaccinated and if you’re not, then you’re automatically a COVID-denier or vaccine-opponent. But there are other people at home, I think, who are simply having thoughts – whatever the reasons are. I think they should be respected, especially if they are sticking to the guidelines.”
Kimmich didn’t say that he opposes vaccination, but his revelation has split public opinion and drawn comments from political corners. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party welcomed Kimmich’s news, but more informed and moderate voices criticised Kimmich, who is considered a role model in Germany.
“He is very badly advised,” said medical expert Alena Buyx. “This is something that has now spread, and it would be great if he’d used his platform to get better advice to be a role model in this regard.”
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert urged Joshua Kimmich to get “clear and convincing answers” to his questions and then maybe “decide in favour of the vaccination.”
Bayern Munich chairman Oliver Kahn said that “we can only recommend to everyone to get vaccinated”.
Kimmich said that he is tested on a regular basis. His club covers the expenses.
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