ATLANTA (WIAT) — With Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron’s cause of death still undetermined, doctors at Morehouse College are emphasizing his death was not related to the COVID-19 vaccine he was given earlier this month.
Aaron, 86, died in his sleep Jan. 22 at his home in Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Braves organization. On Jan. 5, Aaron was one of several people to receive the Moderna vaccine at the Morehouse School of Medicine.
“Makes me feel wonderful,” Aaron told the Associated Press following his vaccination. “I don’t have any qualms about it at all, you know. I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this, you know. It’s just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country.”
In the days since his death, some have speculated what caused Aaron’s death. On the day Aaron died, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms posted a tribute to the Mobile native on Twitter. Some responses to her tweet questioned whether or not his death was somehow tied to the vaccine.
“We should all ask what the ingredients are because folks may be allergic to some of the ingredients,” user “Nike Otim” posted. “Do your research before taking the vaccine and do not be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS!”
Bottoms responded to one user who asked what the cause of death was.
“He passed in his sleep, the same way my dad died nearly 30 yrs ago,” Bottoms wrote. “I share that because the vaccine won’t stop ALL death, but it will go a long way in preventing deaths from coronavirus, which is disproportionately impacting minority communities.”
Morehouse released the following statement to CBS 42 Monday:
“Baseball legend, businessman and philanthropist Henry “Hank” Aaron was a strong supporter of Morehouse School of Medicine. Our clinical team was honored to administer the Moderna vaccine to Mr. Aaron and wife Billye Suber Aaron — along with more than 20 civil and human rights leaders — on Jan. 5, 2021. Each recipient was over the age of 75 and therefore part of Class 1A.
“Mr. Aaron was a public health advocate and worked with us to help bridge the health equity gap inAtlanta and around the world. His passing was not related to the vaccine, nor did he experience any side effects from the immunization. He passed away peacefully in his sleep.”
Speculation about the vaccine and Aaron’s death mirrors concerns some in the Black community and others have about the safety of the vaccine, something the Alabama NAACP and others have echoed in recent months. Doctors on the local and national level have taken steps to assure the public that the vaccine is safe, seen with public figure like President Joe Biden and others publicly taking the vaccine.
A 21-season veteran of the Braves, Aaron beat Babe Ruth’s all-time career home run record in 1974 by hitting 715 homeruns. He retired in 1976 with 755 career homeruns, which stood until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.