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‘Late vaccinated’, German top minister tells Joshua Kimmich


Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich was told by Germany’s acting interior minister to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after the footballer sparked a lively debate by revealing that he had not received the sample against the coronavirus. “Think again and get vaccinated,” Horst Seehofer, a senior figure in Angela Merkel’s retiring government, told Bild in a message aimed directly at Kimmich. “You are a personality with exemplary character. And if you are vaccinated, other people will say, ‘then I do too’.”

Kimmich, who captained Germany in a recent World Cup qualifier, sparked a heated debate in Germany over the weekend when he revealed that he chose not to be vaccinated, due to “personal concerns”.

Medical experts criticized his position and accused Kimmich of failing in his duty as a role model in football-mad Germany.

“Joshua Kimmich is an expert in football matters, not on vaccination and vaccines,” believed Thomas Mertens, chairman of Germany’s Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko).

Seehofer urged Kimmich in a video interview for the German daily Bild on Wednesday to reconsider his position, as “vaccination is the most important weapon in the fight against the pandemic”.

Germany has seen a sharp increase in the number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus with 23,212 new cases reported on Wednesday.

Of Germany’s 83 million population, about 66 percent are fully vaccinated.

Kimmich appears to be in the minority as more than 90 percent of soccer players and backroom staff in Germany’s top two leagues have been vaccinated, according to figures released by the German Football League (DFL) on Tuesday.

Bayern’s head coach Julian Nagelsmann is currently isolated at home after testing positive for the coronavirus last week.

Bayern Munich teammates Thomas Mueller and Manuel Neuer have made it clear that they feel Kimmich needs to be vaccinated and the midfielder has not ruled out doing so in the future.

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“There’s a very good chance I’ll still be vaccinated,” Kimmich said Saturday, “It’s simple that I’m still worried.”

Bayern president Herbert Hainer said he would be happy if Kimmich was vaccinated, but pointed out that there is no compulsory vaccination in Germany.

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