Sesame Street’s lovable red monster, Elmo, told kids that the COVID-19 vaccine was “OK” when he got vaccinated, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz targeted the show on his Twitter for not citing “scientific evidence.”
Just a few weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed off on Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for kids ages 6 months to 4 years, as well as Moderna’s shots for kids up to age 5.
In a video which was posted on Twitter by Sesame Street and made in collaboration with the CDC, Ad Council, and the COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, Elmo showed kids a Band-Aid on his arm next to his father Louie, saying, “Now Daddy has super-duper bandages just like Elmo!”
Louie said, “You were super duper today, getting your COVID vaccine, Elmo,” and Elmo, who is 3 and a half years old, replied, “There was a little pinch, but it was OK.”
Louie then spoke to parents, saying that he had “a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine. Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice. 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.”
Some on social media were angered by the message, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who wrote, “Thanks, @sesamestreet for saying parents are allowed to have questions! You then have @elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.
Cruz questioned the validity of the COVID-19 vaccines for such young children when the CDC first signed off on them at the beginning of June. Cruz, along with Senator Ron Johnson, Florida Representative Bill Posey, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert, and 18 other members of Congress, wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration asking for more information regarding the vaccines.
“We are in our third year with COVID-19, and we know vastly more about the virus now than we did in 2020,” Cruz said in a press release. “One of the most important things we know is that this virus poses minimal risk for children. Before the FDA approves an Emergency Use Authorization for a children’s vaccine, parents should be able to see the data and paperwork they would use to justify this decision. This is the least the FDA can do for families in Texas and across the country so parents can make the best decisions for their children.”