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Sports star’s vaccine hesitancy troubles experts

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German footballer Joshua Kimmich is the latest athlete to express vaccine concerns; his refusal to get the jab is part of a growing problem in the sporting world.

Medical experts have warned of the dangers of vaccine misinformation, after Bayern Munich and Germany national team footballer Joshua Kimmich confirmed he had not received the COVID-19 vaccine over concerns of long-term side-effects.

“I have concerns about the lack of long-term studies,” he told Sky Sport.

Kimmich however confirmed he was not a COVID-19 denier or anti-vaxxer, and was open to receiving the vaccine in the future.

“I am of course aware of my responsibility,” he said.

“There is a very good chance that I will still get vaccinated,”

“It’s simply that I still have some concerns.”

Joshua Kimmich is expected to assume the captaincy role for club and country in coming years.

News of his vaccination status a surprise to many

Kimmich, now 26, has played for his country 64 times, and captained Germany to a 2-1 victory over Romania earlier this month.

He’s been lauded for his leadership and maturity on and off the field, and for his philanthropic efforts during the pandemic. He’s tipped by football experts as a future long-term captain of his club and country.

Along with several of his Bayern teammates, Kimmich last month set up WeKickCorona, an initiative that hopes to support charities and medical facilities in need of assistance in fighting coronavirus.

“That’s not how it works”

German medical experts have been quick to condemn Kimmich’s stance.

Carsten Watzsl, scientific director of the department of immunology at Technical University Dortmund, said it’s a common “misunderstanding” that vaccines could have potential long-term side-effects that appear years after first and second doses.

“Say I let myself get vaccinated and perhaps next year I will have some grave side-effects, that’s not how it works,” he told a German broadcaster.

“The side effects of a vaccine always appear directly after the vaccination, within a few weeks.”

Much like food and medicine, vaccines don’t last long in the body, and immunologists have maintained that the jab performs a “once-off function”, which then degrades in the body over time.

The chair of Germany’s top medical advisory body, Thomas Mertens, said Kimmich was mistaken if he believed there were no designated studies or monitoring programs closely focused on detecting long-term side-effects.

“Joshua Kimmich is certainly a recognised expert on football issues, but not an expert on vaccination,” Mertens added.

Kimmich joins a growing list of vaccine hesitant sportspeople

Vaccinations are not compulsory for English Premier League players, nor those of Germany’s top flight, the Bundesliga, in which Kimmich competes.

But Kimmich’s reputation and role model image on the world football stage means his vaccination status holds much more significance.

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is perhaps the most prominent example of a sports star who’s turned down the vaccine.

Last year, Djokovic said he was “opposed to vaccination” before a controversial exhibition tour in Serbia and Croatia. The Serbian tennis star and three other players later tested positive for the virus.

He remains steadfast in his view, and his appearance at next month’s Australian Open is far from certain because of this.

West Bromwich Albion and Ireland national team footballer Callum Robinson (pictured above) has caught Covid twice, yet remains unvaccinated.

“That’s my choice at this moment in time,” he said earlier this month.

“Further down the line I could change my mind and want to do it. I think it’s your personal choice and my choice at this moment in time, I haven’t been vaccinated. I wouldn’t force people to do it, it’s your choice and your body.”

Kimmich’s comments come amid rising vaccine cases in Germany, as well as England, where only 68% of Premier League players have been fully vaccinated.

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Big tech caught in political drama

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Nine Google employees were escorted out of company offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, following a sit-in protest against a cloud contract with Israel’s government.

The protest in Sunnyvale targeted Thomas Kurian’s office, CEO of Google’s cloud division, while in New York, it occupied a common area on the tenth floor.

Videos showed Google security staff and local police involved in the removal. Four workers in New York and five in Sunnyvale were reportedly detained, but details of any charges remain unverified.

 

The protest aimed to pressure Google to drop a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract known as Project Nimbus, citing concerns about its involvement with the Israel Defense Forces.

The protesters included software engineers and activists from groups opposing tech contracts with Israel. This incident reflects ongoing activism within tech companies regarding political issues, such as Israel’s actions in Gaza.

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Antitrust concerns arise for streaming sports venture

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U.S. lawmakers Jerry Nadler and Joaquin Castro expressed competition concerns regarding the planned sports streaming joint venture involving Walt Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros Discovery.

They addressed these concerns in a letter to the CEOs of the media companies, questioning the impact on access, competition, and choice in the sports streaming market.

Voicing apprehension about potential consumer price hikes and unfair licensing terms for sports leagues and distributors, they requested responses by April 30, urging the companies to also send their replies to the Department of Justice.

Despite the companies’ announcement in February of launching a joint sports streaming service in the autumn to attract younger viewers, the deal faces DOJ scrutiny and an antitrust lawsuit from FuboTV. While Disney and Warner Bros remained silent on the matter, Fox declined to comment.

The joint venture encompasses a broad range of professional and collegiate sports rights, including NFL, NBA, MLB, FIFA World Cup, and college competitions, offering non-exclusive access to sports networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and TNT via a new streaming app.

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Trump trial: will the jury selection impact the trial’s outcome?

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The Trump hush money trial has progressed with the selection of the first seven jurors, marking a significant step in the legal proceedings.

  • Seven jurors were selected

  • Defense and prosecution lawyers questioned potential jurors for impartiality

  • The judge warned lawyers he would not tolerate disruptions after he said Former US President Donald Trump audibly muttered during a prospective juror’s questioning

The selection of jurors is a crucial step in ensuring a fair trial, as they will ultimately decide Formers US President Donald Trump’s fate in this legal battle, as reported by Reuters.

The process of jury selection involves careful vetting of potential jurors to ensure impartiality and fairness.

Each juror’s background, beliefs, and potential biases are scrutinised to ensure they can render an impartial verdict based solely on the evidence presented in court.

With seven jurors already chosen, the selection process is expected to continue as both the prosecution and defence seek individuals who can objectively weigh the evidence.

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