Austrian Health Minister urges Dominic Thiem to get vaccinated, warns of prolonged COVID-19 symptoms amongst athletes

Dominic Thiem at the Mutua Madrid Open in May
Dominic Thiem at the Mutua Madrid Open in May

Austrian Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein has urged Dominic Thiem to take the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest, as debate continues over whether unvaccinated players will be allowed to participate at the 2022 Australian Open.

Thiem recently revealed that he was yet to get the jab as he was waiting for a specific vaccine (Novavax) based on suggestions from his doctor. However, the former US Open champion did mention that he was open to alternatives if Novavax wasn't available by November.

"I actually wanted to get vaccinated with the inactivated Novavax vaccine. If that doesn't work, I'll just take another vaccine," Thiem said.

In response to Thiem's comments, Mückstein argued that Novavax does not provide any particular benefits over the other vaccines currently available in the market.

"The inactivated vaccine will not be available until 2022 at the earliest, and there is no indication that it has any advantages over the current vaccines," Mückstein said during a conversation with Puls 24 station regarding the vaccination campaign in Austria.
"Ich kann auch Dominic Thiem nur auffordern, dass er sich impfen lässt," sagt Gesundheitsminister @wolfgangmueckst im #puls24-Interview. ▶️ Über die Impfkampagne, die FPÖ und weitere Maßnahmen spricht er im Newsroom LIVE mit @wernersejka.⏰ 22.20 Uhr auf #puls24

Concerned about the former World No. 3's decision to delay taking the vaccine, Mückstein mentioned the existence of prolonged COVID-19 symptoms even amongst athletes and the younger population.

"I can only urge Dominic Thiem to get vaccinated. There is long-covid among younger people and athletes too, and we have 30-year-olds in the intensive care unit," he said.

Dominic Thiem set to make a comeback in January 2022

Dominic Thiem shares an Instagram Story advertising Technogym
Dominic Thiem shares an Instagram Story advertising Technogym

Dominic Thiem is back in light training as he steps up his recovery from a wrist injury that ruled him out of the second half of the 2021 season. In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Thiem laid out his plans for the upcoming months and suggested that he is eyeing a return at the 2022 Australian Open in January.

"As unfortunate as the injury was, now I have the best chance to really build up over a period of three months. You don't get such a chance in a normal tennis year. When I start tournament play again in Australia in January, I'll hopefully be one hundred percent ready," Thiem said.

The 28-year-old said his immediate goal was to regain muscle mass in his right hand, adding that he hoped to be able to train with a racket in November.

"I have to try to rebuild the 75 percent that the hand has lost in mass and muscle. I will focus on being able to start with a fully trained arm. If everything goes ideally, I can start my regular tennis training again in November," Thiem said.

During his time away from tennis, Thiem has appeared in a number of commercials for his sponsors, including Technogym, who recently posted a picture of the Austrian using the company's new equipment.

"Our brand ambassador @domithiem has been back on the field since October and training is underway. You too can train with professional equipment and win a new Technogym bench," the caption accompanying the picture read.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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