Status: 10/24/2021 5:25 p.m.
Football national player Kimmich does not want to be vaccinated against Corona for the time being – and has triggered a broad discussion. Because he justifies his attitude with a lack of long-term studies. Scientists see a need for clarification.
National soccer player Joshua Kimmich has confirmed that he has not yet been vaccinated against Corona – and his skeptical attitude triggered a broad discussion. The professional’s preliminary no to a corona vaccination is met with criticism from politicians, footballers and experts.
“It is not a good thing that he is not vaccinated,” said the SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach at Sport1. “If he says he’s waiting, that’s difficult.” The long-time CEO of FC Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, told the TV broadcaster Bild: “As a role model, but also as a fact, it would be better if he were vaccinated.”
Concerns about “lack of long-term studies”
On Saturday, Kimmich said on TV channel Sky that he had not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 after the “Bild” made his vaccination status public. The 26-year-old stated that it was “very possible” that he would be vaccinated in the future, but that he had “a few personal concerns”, “especially about the lack of long-term studies”.
The Bayern professional distanced himself in an interview from groups of “Corona deniers or vaccination opponents”. But there are also people who have concerns for various reasons, said Kimmich. “You should respect that too, especially as long as you stick to the measures.” He thinks it is a shame that there is “only vaccinated or not vaccinated” on the subject.
Immunologist sees misunderstanding
The immunologist Carsten Watzl spoke of a “misunderstanding that persists with many people” with regard to the possible long-term consequences of vaccinations. He pointed out that side effects of vaccination always occur within a few weeks after vaccination. After that, the immune reaction was complete and the vaccine disappeared from the body, said the Secretary General of the German Society for Immunology to the dpa news agency.
“What many people obviously understand by long-term effects – namely that I will be vaccinated today and a side effect will occur next year – that does not exist, has never happened before and will not occur with the Covid 19 vaccination,” explained the expert . What is understood as long-term effects in vaccinations, on the other hand, are side effects “which are so rare that it sometimes takes years to bring them into connection with the vaccination”.
The great advantage of vaccinations against the coronavirus is “that we have used this vaccine on many people in a short time”. In Germany there are more than 100 million cans, worldwide more than six billion. Therefore, we already know possible rare side effects such as sinus vein thrombosis or myocarditis. “If we had only carried out ten million vaccinations every year, it could be that these side effects would not have been recognized until much later,” said Watzl and emphasized: “If anything, the Covid-19 vaccines are already in terms of long-term effects (rare side effects) better researched than other vaccinations. ”
Longer quarantine in the event of infection
Kimmich is the first well-known Bundesliga professional to publicize his status as an unvaccinated person and to justify this. With his decision, he does not follow the recommendation of his employer, in front of whose stadium a vaccination bus from the city of Munich stopped for the sixth time. “FC Bayern recommends getting vaccinated, just like I do personally, in order, among other things, to enable everyone to have a more normal life,” said sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.
The “Bild” reported on five unvaccinated Bayern professionals that would mean a vaccination rate of over 80 percent. Unvaccinated professionals must undergo two weekly PCR tests or foreign antigen tests on all training, game and travel days. In the event of an infection, they would generally have to be in quarantine for longer, which can affect the team’s success.
Such a scenario would be bitter for everyone involved, said team-mate Thomas Müller. The vice-captain sees various facets in his personal relationship with Kimmich. From the perspective of a “friend”, it was an “absolutely acceptable decision,” said Müller. As a “teammate” and with an eye on the pandemic situation, a vaccination would be better. “But you also have to try to respect that somehow. That’s a fine line, it’s an ethical, moral discussion,” said the 32-year-old.
Hope for a quick rethink
Kimmich does not have to fear any disadvantages at Bayern or the national team. A club cannot force its stars, and there is no compulsory vaccination at FIFA and UEFA either. DFB team doctor Tim Meyer, who is also jointly responsible for the hygiene concepts at DFL and UEFA, is an advocate of vaccinations. “According to current scientific knowledge, the protective effect of vaccinations against severe courses is excellent,” said Meyer recently. The doctors in Munich Kimmich are likely to have pointed this out.
In recent weeks, numerous politicians and experts have repeatedly appealed to indecisive citizens to get vaccinated. Rummenigge and Lauterbach, among others, are now hoping for this too. “I am convinced that he has also announced that he may be vaccinated soon,” said Rummenigge. “It would be best if the vaccination came and that you don’t build up a lot of pressure now,” said Lauterbach. “It is Joshua Kimmich’s own decision. We mustn’t apply pressure, but it would be very valuable – it has an enormous symbolic effect.”
Bayer Leverkusen’s sports director Simon Rolfes also emphasized the role model function of professionals. “We are all vaccinated or have recovered, 2G in the team and in the staff. That’s how we treat it with the fans,” said the former German national player at DAZN. “It is important for solidarity in society that players lead the way, so we talked a lot with the players and were able to convince them.”