Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich has been asked by Germany’s acting interior minister to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after the footballer sparked a lively debate by revealing that he had opted to receive jabs against the coronavirus . “Think again and get vaccinated,” Horst Seehofer, a senior figure in Angela Merkel’s outgoing government, told Bild in a message aimed directly at Kimmich. “You’re a personality of exemplary character. And if you get vaccinated, others will say, ‘So will I.'”
Kimmich, who recently captained Germany in World Cup qualifiers, sparked a heated debate in Germany over the weekend when he revealed he opted not to get vaccinated due to “personal concerns”.
Medical experts have criticized his stance, accusing Kimmich of neglecting his duty as a role model in football-crazy Germany.
“Joshua Kimmich is an expert in football, not vaccination and vaccines,” said Thomas Mertens, president of Germany’s Permanent Immunization Commission (Stico).
In a video interview for the German daily Bild on Wednesday, Seehofer urged Kimmich to reconsider his position because “vaccination is the main weapon in the fight against the pandemic”.
Germany has seen a sharp increase in the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus with 23,212 new cases reported on Wednesday.
About 66 percent of Germany’s 83 million population is fully vaccinated.
Kimmich is in the minority in Germany’s top two leagues with more than 90 percent of footballers and backroom staff being vaccinated, according to data released by the German Football League (DFL) on Tuesday.
Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann is currently in isolation at home after testing positive for the coronavirus last week.
Bayern Munich teammates Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer have made it clear they think Kimmich should be vaccinated and the midfielder has not ruled out doing so in the future.
“There’s a very good chance I’ll still get vaccinated,” Kimmich said on Saturday.
Bayern President Herbert Hainer has said he would be happy if Kimmich gets vaccinated, but pointed out that there is no compulsory vaccination in Germany.
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