Elmo, the beloved red Muppet on the long-running children’s television show “Sesame Street,” is now vaccinated against COVID-19 — but not everyone is happy about it.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz expressed his outrage at a public service announcement featuring Elmo and his dad Louie, which was designed to encourage parents and caregivers to get informed about COVID shots for younger kids.
“You were super duper today getting your COVID vaccine, Elmo,” Louie says during the 60-second spot. “Yeah, there was a little pinch, but it was OK,” the little furry red monster, who’s 3 years old, responded.
Not too long after the video was shared on social media on Tuesday morning, the Republican lawmaker went on Twitter to thank Sesame Street “for saying parents are allowed to have questions,” but also noted Elmo’s intentions.
“You then have @elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5,” he wrote. “But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”
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“Was it safe? Was it the right decision?’ I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice,” Louie said in the PSA. “I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love.”
The PSA — launched by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street” in collaboration with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education — followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID vaccines for children aged 6 months and older.
It was produced in partnership with the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Parents have been waiting a long time to vaccinate their youngest children and protect them from serious illness and hospitalization,” AAP President Moira Szilagyi said in a statement. “The months, and even years, of worry have been especially hard on these families as they adjusted their activities through the pandemic to keep their children safe. COVID vaccination for this age group is one more tool parents now have in their toolbox to help their children thrive.”
This is not the first time Cruz has objected to a “Sesame Street” character encouraging COVID vaccinations for children.
Late last year, after fellow Muppet Big Bird — a 6-year-old, 8-foot-2-inch tall yellow bird — announced he had gotten his shot, Cruz slammed the news as “Government propaganda … for your 5-year-old!”
Nearly 5.7 million child cases of COVID-19 have been reported nationally in 2022 alone, making vaccination an important step to protecting both kids and their families against the highly contagious virus and its variants, Sesame Workshop said in a news release.