Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich says he should have been vaccinated sooner after suffering a lung problem due to Covid-19.
Kimmich had previously expressed a reluctance to get vaccinated due to “fears and concerns” about the vaccine, but says doctors found liquid in his lung which will now keep him out of action until 2022.
The 26-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 last month but has still been unable to return to training as doctors recommended he take 10 days to rest. Kimmich says he was told intense activity could lead to heart problems and long-term effects.
“For several reasons, it would have been better to have gotten an earlier vaccination,” Kimmich told German outlet ZDF. “There are many good reasons to get vaccinated.
“In general, it was difficult for me to cope with my fears and concerns. Therefore, I was undecided for such a long time. Therefore, I couldn’t make this decision.
“I probably had to live through this experience. Looking back, I would have taken the vaccination decision much earlier, but at that point, I was not able to make that decision.”
Kimmich says he had recently planned to get vaccinated, but “unfortunately my infection came first.”
Due to his unvaccinated status, Kimmich was forced to isolate last month after coming into contact with a positive case, causing him to miss Bayern’s 2-1 Bundesliga defeat to Augsburg.
Kimmich has since missed a further two Bundesliga matches, including Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund and two Champions League matches due to his positive test.
“I had a bad conscience, first of all towards my family who had to listen to reproaches, and then towards my teammates,” he said. “I was the one sitting at home who missed the highlight matches and couldn’t help the team.
“I let the team down by getting the infection and also by being quarantined twice because I was a contact person. This would not have happened if I had been vaccinated.
“There was no criticism from the team. They asked me, but it is everyone’s own decision that everybody has to understand. On the other hand, I understand that others get angry if someone misses out when important matches are to be played. I would also be angry.
“I fully understand that the club reduced my salary.”
Along with Bayern teammate Leon Goretzka, Kimmich last year launched the WeKickCorona initiative to support charities and institutions that help fight Covid-19, with the pair making an initial donation of €5 million ($5.65M).
“We wanted to help people suffering from the corona situation,” he said. “We wanted to help the big losers. One project was to help UNICEF to provide vaccines to countries that do not have as much access to vaccines.
“In our country, we have the luxury to talk about giving boosters to people, people can get their third vaccination. In those countries, people do not have the possibility to make this decision whether to get vaccinated because they do not have the vaccine. And I think this fact shows that I am no anti-vaxxer.”