Joshua Kimmich shocked many Bayern Munich fans and observers when it was leaked that one of two faces of the award-winning WeKickCorona charity (with teammate Leon Goretzka) had declined to take the COVID-19 vaccination himself. It is no surprise, though, that Rudi Völler, the outspoken Germany legend and managing director sports at Bayer 04 Leverkusen—which is owned by pharmaceutical giant Bayer—urges Kimmich to change his mind.
In Völler’s view, Kimmich should not be discouraged by potential naysayers (Sport1): “You get the feeling a bit that, if Joshua Kimmich got vaccinated now, he will have caved in to public pressure. But he does not have to do that at all.” Völler argues that Kimmich should not double-down to appease potential critics: “Then—I think—you’re a super guy, a super person, a hero, if you go get it now regardless. Even if someone or other now writes, ‘Oh, now he caved in anyway.’”
At Bayer Leverkusen, Völler noted, the entire team and staff is vaccinated: “I can say, we have a one-hundred-percent rate in our squad and in our coaching staff. Not everybody was happy about it in the beginning, and some asked questions. Then, of course, you have to try to convince them with arguments,” he said. Völler said he is “not opposed” to a nationwide vaccine mandate in Germany.
Kimmich is quoted on the WeKickCorona website, “Because health is the foremost priority, solidarity in things big and small is necessary now. Everyone can help.”