Berlin, Oct 25 (EFE).- Bayern Munich star and German international Joshua Kimmich has pushed back against criticism for his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Around 70% of Germany’s population has received the coronavirus vaccine, and the German Football League (DFL) said in May that 94% of players in the country’s top two professional divisions had received a vaccine.
Speaking to television broadcaster Sky Sport on Sunday following Bayern’s 4-0 win over Hoffenheim, Kimmich said he “personally still has some concerns about the lack of long-term studies” into Covid vaccines.
“I follow all hygiene measures and get tested every two to three days. Everyone should make the decision for themselves,” he added.
The midfielder insisted that he is not “a Covid denier or anti-vaxxer”, and called for a more nuanced discussion surrounding vaccines.
“I find it a shame that there is only vaccinated and unvaccinated in this debate. Unvaccinated then seems to equal Covid denier or anti-vaxxer. But there are other people who just have concerns, whatever their reasons, and I think we should respect that as long as they also stick to the measures.”
Kimmich has not ruled out getting vaccinated in the future, but his statements have raised concerns inside and outside the sport that his public stance could undermine Germany’s vaccination drive.
Kimmich has been seen as a role model in many respects and has, together with his Bayern and Germany teammate Leon Goretzka, made a contribution to the fight against the coronavirus by setting up WeKickCorona, a foundation that has raised several million euros to help those most affected by the pandemic.
“We all know and appreciate Kimmich’s responsibility and are therefore surprised by his statements,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday.
Seibert said that the decision to be vaccinated or not is a personal one, but added that “there are answers to the doubts he has and there are studies that hopefully have an influence on him.”