'Proud' Aaron receives COVID-19 vaccine

January 6th, 2021

ATLANTA -- Hank Aaron expressed pride after being injected with the COVID-19 vaccination. The iconic Hall of Famer hopes his willingness to be vaccinated Tuesday will help lessen concerns some Black Americans may have about receiving the shot.

“[Getting vaccinated] makes me feel wonderful,” Aaron told 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, former United Nations ambassador Andrew Young and former U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Louis Sullivan were accompanied by their spouses and other civil rights leaders when they were vaccinated at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Aaron and his wife, Billye, have been top donors to the medical school, which Sullivan founded in Atlanta in 1975.

Young told the AP the mistrust Black Americans have for vaccinations stems from the Tuskegee experiment, an infamous study which left syphilis untreated in participating Black men without their consent. The experiment spanned from 1932-72.

“I’ve been taking vaccines now for 88 years and I haven’t been sick,” Young said. “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.”