MLB legend Hank Aaron gets COVID-19 vaccine, hopes to send message to Black Americans

·2 min read

Hall of Famer Hank Aaron received a vaccine for COVID-19 alongside civil rights leaders in Georgia on Tuesday.

The goal — other than protecting himself from the coronavirus, which is still raging throughout the United States — was simply to help show other Black Americans that getting vaccinated is safe.

“[Getting vaccinated] makes me feel wonderful,” Aaron said, via The Associated Press. “I don’t have any qualms about it at all, you know. I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this … It’s just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country.”

Aaron, a 25-time All-Star, played in the league from 1954-76 almost exclusively for the Braves organization both in Milwaukee and in Atlanta. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Aaron, 86, joined former United Nations ambassador Andrew Young and former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, among others, at the Morehouse School of Medicine health clinic in Atlanta on Tuesday to receive the first of two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

According to the Associated Press, a December survey showed that 40% of Black people said they wouldn’t get the vaccine — something many connect to the Tuskegee Study, which left hundreds of Black men without proper care for syphilis for decades.

“I’ve been taking vaccines now for 88 years and I haven’t been sick,” Young said, via The Associated Press. “The truth of it is, Black folk have been living by shots, and just because they did something crazy and murderous and evil back in 1931, we’re still thinking about that. We’ve got to get over that.”

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron prepares to receive his COVID-19 vaccination
Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron prepares to receive his COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Aaron and others received their vaccinations in an effort to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated for Black Americans who might be hesitant to do so. (AP/Ron Harris)

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