File photo of Joshua Kimmich. DPA/PA Images
Change of heart

Bayern's Kimmich decides to get Covid vaccine after infection

The Germany international revealed in October he had declined the jab and subsequently contracted the virus.

JOSHUA KIMMICH OF Bayern Munich told ZDF broadcaster Sunday that he has decided to be vaccinated against Covid-19 after recovering from an infection which will keep him out of action until next month.

“When it is recommended and the time is right, I will get vaccinated,” Kimmich said in an interview with the public broadcaster.

The Bayern and Germany midfielder, who has until now declined the vaccine, said he may have to wait “some time” for the jab, having only just recovered from his coronavirus infection.

Kimmich sparked a heated vaccination debate in October when he revealed that he had declined a vaccine against Covid due to “personal concerns”.

“It was difficult for me to deal with my fears and concerns, which is why I was undecided for so long,” he told ZDF.

“I thought I could protect myself from the virus if I stuck to all the rules and tested regularly,” he said.

The 26-year-old added that he had already booked a vaccination appointment before he contracted the virus last month, and admitted that “it would have been better to do it earlier”.

Yet he also said that some of the criticism he had faced for not getting the jab had “crossed a line”.

“We always talk about respect, tolerance and openness, and those were the values that I felt were missing from the debate,” he said.

His decision to get vaccinated was welcomed by leading German politicians.

“It is a good decision from Joshua Kimmich to get the vaccine. As a footballer, he is an example for many people. More vaccinations are our way out of the pandemic,” tweeted Bettina Stark-Watzinger, development minister in the newly inaugurated coalition government.

The Bayern midfielder may have to wait some time before he is able to get the jab, as Germany’s vaccine commission recommends waiting six months after an infection. 

Kimmich tested positive last month and only came out of house quarantine this week.

He is expected to be out of action until January as he recovers from lung damage caused by the infection.

“I am lucky that my symptoms were mild. Unfortunately, the tests showed that there is a little bit of fluid in my lungs,” he said.

“That means I have to take it easy for 10 days or so before I can go back to training. Otherwise the danger is that it goes to my heart and there will be longer term consequences.”

Last week, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said he was confident that Kimmich would return to full fitness.

“I’m not at all worried because the infiltrations are not dramatic,” said Nagelsmann.

Kimmich was one of several Bayern players who were reported unvaccinated last month.

Nagelsmann confirmed on Saturday that Germany international Jamal Musiala has since been jabbed.

“I am pleased that Jamal is vaccinated and hopefully we won’t have any more problems in the second half of the season,” said Nagelsmann.

© – AFP, 2021

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