Joshua Kimmich expressed regret at not jumping at the chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – but took a swipe at those who criticised his hesitancy.
The Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder has confirmed he is now ready to take a vaccine after months of delaying his decision, and after experiencing unpleasant effects of having the virus himself.
The 26-year-old caused a major stir in October when he explained he was not willing to receive his first dose due to what he perceived as a lack of research into possible long-term effects.
“Generally, it was just difficult for me to deal with my fears and concerns, which is why I was undecided for so long,” Kimmich said, speaking to German broadcaster ZDF.
“Maybe I had to go through what I have now gone through first. Of course, looking back, I would like to make the vaccination decision earlier, but at the time it wasn’t possible for me.”
Kimmich has not featured for Bayern since November 6 after twice being forced to isolate due to being a close contact of someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
He was then infected with COVID-19 and was this week ruled out until 2022 due to an issue with his lungs. He told ZDF that to return to full training now would create the risk of that problem extending to his heart and “longer consequences”.
Kimmich has been dismayed by some reaction to his reluctance to be jabbed, saying: “I have to say personally that some of the limits have been exceeded.
“I also had the feeling that there was one or another who tried to make a name for themselves through this situation. It wasn’t always just objective criticism.
“We always talk about respect, tolerance, openness – and these are precisely the values that I particularly missed in my discussion.”
Kimmich has played 18 times for Bayern across all competitions this campaign.
Bayern, who are playing their home games behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions imposed in Bavaria, sit six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga after beating Mainz 2-1 on Saturday.