Story at a glance
- The Sesame Street character Big Bird announced he had been “vaccinated” against COVID-19 on Twitter over the weekend.
- Democrats, including President Biden, congratulated him while conservatives said the move was force feeding America’s children vaccine propaganda.
- The FDA last month gave the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for five- to 11-year olds emergency use authorization, and the CDC recommended the roughly 28 million children in that age group get vaccinated.
The Sesame Street mainstay Big Bird on Saturday was just one of many children in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after becoming eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech jab late last month. Now, conservatives are calling the character’s vaccination vaccine “propaganda.”
The eight-foot-two feathered yellow bird, who is forever 6 years old, joined America’s five- to 11-year olds late last month in becoming eligible for COVID-19 vaccination following the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group’s emergency use authorization from the FDA. The Centers for Disease Control last week expanded its vaccine recommendations to the roughly 28 million five- to 11-year olds in the U.S.
“I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it'll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy,” Bird Bird wrote Saturday on Twitter.
Democratic politicians praised the Sesame Street character’s vaccination, and “I stand with Big Bird” was trending on Twitter.
“I'm running for Congress to help Floridians, not to debate Big Bird. But, since we're here, I stand with Big Bird,” Adam Gentle, a Democrat running to represent Florida’s 25th Congressional District, wrote.
But the announcement didn’t evoke positive messages from some conservatives, who said the children’s show character’s vaccination was part of a liberal agenda to further vaccine mandates.
“Government propaganda … for your 5-year-old!,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) tweeted. Cruz is vaccinated but is opposed to making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.
Lisa Boothe, a Fox News contributor, tweeted that “Brainwashing children who are not at risk from COVID” was “twisted.”
Although public health experts say children are less likely than adults to become severely ill from COVID, they can easily infect others, and pediatric infections and hospitalizations are on the rise, the CDC reported last month.
The puppets of Sesame Street, on television screens since 1969, have often been used to help children process emotions in the wake of crises like the 9/11 attacks, or about parents who struggle with addiction or are incarcerated. They’ve recently been educating children and parents about the pandemic.
Some Twitter users pointed out that Big Bird was also used in child immunization campaigns in the 1970s.
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