Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, like many other Black Americans, had his doubts about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The 71-year-old, however, has now received both doses of his vaccine in time for spring training — which started this week in South Florida.
While he knows how personal and divided the issue may be for people, Baker is doing his part to try and convince others to get vaccinated now, too.
“I’m urging people to try to take care of themselves,” Baker said Thursday, via the Palm Beach Post. “I know it’s a very touchy situation. A lot of people don’t trust the vaccine.
“I’m not going to try to convince those who are staunchly against it. Those on the fence or on the bubble, hopefully my words might sway them.”
One of those people who are “staunchly against” receiving the vaccine, Baker revealed, is his nearly 90-year-old mother.
Even with Baker having received both doses himself, his mom wants no part of it.
“She refuses to get it,” Baker said. “It’s up to the individual.”
Baker latest to advocate for COVID-19 vaccine
Baker is just the latest in the sports world to advocate in favor of the coronavirus vaccine.
MLB legend Hank Aaron, who died in January, received his coronavirus vaccine this year while delivering a similar message to Baker’s. NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich have appeared in PSAs in recent weeks, too — though some of the league’s biggest stars are reportedly hesitant to join them.
“[Getting vaccinated] makes me feel wonderful,” Aaron said in January after receiving his shot. “I don’t have any qualms about it at all, you know. I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this.”
Baker was hesitant himself initially, largely due to the history of the infamous Tuskegee experiment — a 40-year study where government officials misled Black participants infected with syphilis about their health status.
It wasn’t until he saw Sandra Lindsay, a Black nurse in New York, receive the vaccine that he was willing to join in.
“There was an African American doctor that was in charge of the vaccine,” Baker said in December. “I felt more comfortable that he and other African Americans were on the boards to come up with the vaccine.
“And he guaranteed that it wouldn’t be another Tuskegee kind of experiment. And he urged Black Americans to use the vaccine.”
Though he is now vaccinated — and roughly 1.6 million doses are being administered in the United States each day, according to The New York Times — Baker knows successfully getting through spring training and the MLB season this summer won’t be easy.
“I’m just hoping we get this thing under control, back to some kind of normal and hoping we make it through spring training relatively unscathed,” Baker said, via the Palm Beach Post.
“You know there’s going to be some ups and downs. We have to really be careful. If we’re going to continue with spring training and into the season, we still have to be aware of the situation.”
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