“Ethical discussion”: vaccination debate surrounding bavaria star kimmich

Joshua kimmich has drawn criticism and astonishment in the emotional vaccination debate. The national soccer player’s premature refusal of a corona vaccination has been met with incomprehension because of the role model role expected of the model professional.

The FC bayern midfield star made his thoughts on the publicly charged vaccination issue public in a TV interview over the weekend. In view of the clear triple-digit incidence figures for the first time since may and the quarantine for his club coach julian nagelsmann, the statements are even more explosive than they already are.

He still has "a few personal reservations, especially with regard to the lack of long-term studies," kimmich said after the 4-0 win over hoffenheim. On tv channel sky, the 26-year-old also stated that it was "very possible" that he would be vaccinated in the future. Kimmich distanced himself from groups of "corona deniers or vaccination opponents" in an interview. But there were also people who were concerned for various reasons, said kimmich. "This should also be respected, especially as long as the mabnahme is adhered to."

Emotionally charged debate

Despite all the scientific findings, the vaccination debate in germany is very emotional, and the statements of such a prominent and important national player fuel it further. Kimmich is the father of two children and the first well-known bundesliga professional to make his status as an unvaccinated person public and give reasons for it. But he is also the soccer star who, as part of his corona relief campaign, wants "solidarity in small and large ways" – even though the "we kick corona" project was founded by him and colleague leon goretzka long before the first vaccinations and has undoubtedly already helped many people.

"As a role model, but also as a fact, it would have been better if he had been vaccinated," long-time bavarian boss karl-heinz rummenigge told TV station bild. A "yes" or "no" from kimmich to the spade has a rough symbolic effect. So far, according to official reporting data, just under 70 percent of germans have had at least one dose of covid-19 injected. A good 66 percent are considered fully vaccinated .

Consequences for the team as well

Target vaccination rates are at least 85 percent for people aged 12 to 59 and at least 90 percent for people over 60. Unvaccinated people also benefit from loosening restrictions as vaccination rates rise. The vaccination rate in the bundesliga is said to be higher than in the general population. Bild" reported five unvaccinated bayern pros, which would mean a vaccination rate of over 80 percent. It also made kimmich’s vaccination status public. Afterwards, the midfield star felt the need to make his TV statement, in which he also referred to his lived solidarity and compliance with all the prescribed corona measures.

Non-vaccinated professionals must undergo two weekly PCR tests or foreign antigen tests on all training, game and travel days. In case of infection, they basically had to be in quarantane for a long time, which can affect the team’s success.

Such a scenario would be bitter for everyone involved, said teammate thomas muller. The vice captain sees various facets in the personal relationship with kimmich. From the point of view of a "friend," it was an "absolutely acceptable decision," said muller. As a "teammate" and with a view to the pandemic situation, a vaccination would be better. "But in the same way, you have to somehow try to respect that as well. It’s a fine line, it’s an ethical, moral discussion," said the 32-year-old.

Clarification work necessary

Kimmich’s appearance may now bring new impetus to the clarification work. Carsten watzl, secretary general of the german society for immunology, spoke of a "misconception that many people are stubbornly holding on to.

Side effects of a vaccination always occurred within a few weeks after vaccination. "After that, the immune reaction is complete and the vaccine has disappeared from the body. What many people apparently understand by long-term effects, namely that I am vaccinated today and next year a side effect occurs, does not exist, has never existed and will not occur with the covid-19 vaccination," watzl said on sunday, when the robert koch institute (RKI) calculated the number of new infections per 100.000 inhabitants per week at 106.3. For comparison: the day before, the value was exactly 100; a week ago, it was 72.7. Within one day, the health authorities reported 13 cases to the RKI.732 new corona infections – about 5000 more than a week earlier.

FC bayern recommends vaccination

Kimmich’s decision does not follow the recommendation of his employer, who was delighted to see the city of munich’s vaccination bus outside the stadium for the sixth time on saturday. "The FC bayern recommends getting vaccinated, just as i do personally, in order to, among other things, perhaps enable everyone to live a more normal life," said sports director hasan salihamidzic. Practically every bundesliga coach was allowed to wish for an inoculated squad.

But the fact that the bavarians and other clubs have to accept the absence of top performers in this question cannot only be explained by understanding and respect for personal decisions. A club can not force its stars, because players of the good class kimmich were quickly find another club. It is not known whether the vaccination issue was also discussed in the course of the contract renewal until 2025, which was finalized in august and in which kimmich negotiated himself without an advisor.

Kimmich has no disadvantages to fear at FC bayern or with the national team. A nomination also for the november games against liechtenstein (11.11.) and in armenia (14.11.) by national coach hansi flick is not endangered, also FIFA and UEFA have no vaccination obligation. National teammate ilkay gundogan repeatedly warned in strong terms against underestimating the virus following his covid 19 illness.

DFB team doctor tim meyer, who is also responsible for hygiene concepts at the DFL and UEFA, is considered a supporter of the vaccine. "According to the current state of scientific knowledge, the protective effect of vaccinations against severe courses of the disease is excellent," meyer said briefly. The doctors in munich must have pointed this out to kimmich. Kimmich had decided on the vaccine issue "not to do it for now" and respected that, said nagelsmann representative dino toppmoller.

Teams and coaches can come to terms with the decision; special hygiene concepts mean that the risk of infection in day-to-day collaboration and on trips is very low, provided the guidelines are observed. The public must also accept kimmich’s decision.

But at the latest in games in which fans are only allowed into the stadiums in compliance with the 2G rule, i.E. Recovered or vaccinated, a new debate will break out about privileges for stars who were largely allowed to continue playing in the pandemic despite lockdowns. This can be explained by the profession as a professional soccer player and is independent of spectators who go to the stadium in their free time. But to convey this was allowed to be difficult.

"Enormous symbolic effect"

Kimmich’s social commitment was also criticized in the course of the inauguration statements. On twitter, in addition to discussions about "we kick corona," there was much criticism of the fact that the 26-year-old had visited seriously ill children a few days ago. Some users accused him of endangering the little patients by doing so. Others pointed out that as a professional soccer player he was tested twice a week by PCR. Kimmich also wore an FFP mask at the appointment.

It is not impossible that kimmich will get vaccinated in the near future. "It would be best if the vaccination still came and that one does not build up now a rough pressure," said SPD health expert karl lauterbach on sunday at sport1. "It’s joshua kimmich’s own decision. We were not allowed to build up pressure, but it would be very valuable – from it comes an enormous symbolic effect." It was let the fatal message from kimmich’s statement lose effect.

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