Stefanos Tsitsipas, who rocked the tennis world earlier in the week with his admission that he has not received the vaccine, said on Wednesday that although he is not against the shot, he believes it has not been tested enough.
Speaking after his win against American Sebastian Korda for the round of 32 at the Cincinnati Masters, Tsitsipas said that he sees no reason for vaccination, especially for young people.
“I am young, I am in the under-25 category. For me the vaccine has not been tested enough, it is new. It has some side effects, I personally know some people who have had them. I want to clarify, I’m not against it. I just see no reason that someone in my age group needs to be vaccinated,” the world number three opined.
“Everyone has the right to do what they think is right. No one can force you to vaccinate. Everyone has the right to decide what they want to do. If you want to protect yourself with the vaccine, your problem, go and do it. For us young people, I think it is good to pass the virus, because we will build immunity,” he added.
He also expressed frustration at journalists’ questions on the subject.
“Everyone has their own point of view. If it is to play diplomats and not be able to express our views on something specific, what is the reason for doing these interviews?” he said.
Tsitsipas reveals he has not received the vaccine
His admission earlier in the week that he hasn’t even received his first dose of a vaccine and is waiting for it to be mandated for all players on tour, caused strong reactions in Greece and the tennis world.
Tsitsipas was the face of Greece’s “Stay Home” campaign last year as Covid-19 was spreading at its peak.
Adonis Georgiadis, the Greek Minister for Development and Investment, said he has “saddened” by the announcement.
“Tsitsipas is a model athlete whose thoughts and behavior affects a lot of people,” Georgiadis noted.
Leading tennis coach Brad Gilbert labelled Tsitsipas’ stance on the vaccine “very selfish.” Grand Slam winners Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have expressed the importance of vaccination in the fight to get out of the pandemic.
“The only way out of this nightmare is vaccination. Our responsibility as human beings is to accept it,” Nadal said.
“I know there is a percentage of people who will suffer from side effects, but the effects of the virus are worse.”
Over 5.1 million have completed Covid-19 vaccination in Greece
Greece had completed 11 million vaccinations as of August 16, Secretary General for Primary Health Marios Themistocleous said at the weekly live briefing on Monday.
That total number refers to both those who have completed their vaccination series against Covid-19 or have had just the first dose of vaccine.
He said that over 5.85 million citizens have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, corresponding to 55.6% of the general population, or 65% of the adult population.
Over 5.15 million have completed their vaccination series, or 52.5% of the general population and 61.6% of the adult cohort.