December 13 – Bayern Munich and Germany star Joshua Kimmich will get vaccinated against the coronavirus after infection forced him to sit time out on the sidelines. Kimmich had refused to get jabbed, his vaccine hesitancy putting him in the spotlight of the vaccination debate.
In an interview with German TV, Kimmich expressed “regret” that he didn’t get vaccinated. He tested positive last month and lost his smell and taste for a time. He won’t play until next month because of water deposits in his lungs. Doctors told him to rest and not to aggravate the situation. He is expected to make a full recovery.
“Broadly, it was just difficult for me to deal with my fears and concerns, and that’s why I remained undecided for so long,” said Kimmich.
“The decision by Joshua Kimmich in favour of vaccination deserves respect,” wrote German health minister Karl Lauterbach on Twitter. “He was never a pandemic sceptic and just was hesitant for too long. There are alas many who regret their hesitation in the ICU. We must speak to the hesitant in a more targeted way.”
In the Bundestag for the SPD, Lauterbach, an epidemiologist and health economist, was named health minister last week by new Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz and his reaction was indicative of how Kimmich’s stance has stirred the vaccination debate.
Still, Kimmich said he doesn’t see himself as a role model who should convince other people to get vaccinated. “It’s a decision everyone must decide for themselves,” said Kimmich. “I find it good that many role models use their position to encourage people to get vaccinated.”
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