Sesame Workshop last week launched a public service advertisement (PSA) to encourage parents to get informed about COVID-19 vaccines. The PSA featured a video of Elmo and his dad soon after the 3-and-a-half-year-old beloved muppet got vaccinated. But not everyone was happy to hear of Elmo’s vaccination status.
COVID-19 vaccines have made it to Elmo’s World. That’s right, last week the 3-and-a-half-year-old beloved muppet Elmo got vaccinated now that the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19vaccines are authorized for emergency use in children as young as 6 months.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” in collaboration with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, last week launched a PSA to encourage parents and caregivers to get informed about COVID-19 vaccines.
The PSA was produced in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics.
As part of the PSA, “Sesame Street” posted a video on YouTube staring Elmo and his dad Louie.
The video begins with Elmo extremely excited about having a Band-Aid on his arm just like his dad, after getting the COVID-19 vaccine earlier that day.
After Elmo runs off to go get his Baby David, Louie addresses the camera directly, saying he had “a lot of questions” about the vaccine. “Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice,” he said.
“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.”
However, not everyone was happy to hear of Elmo’s vaccination status.
In a recent Russell Brand episode (see below), the comedian said that “just because there’s … cuddly puppets involved with Band-Aids on it doesn’t make me feel any more assured.”
“It’s another example of a reductivist and propagandist approach to an issue that requires consideration, openness and transparency.”
“When it starts getting into complex territory that involves the power of the state, the influence of pharmaceutical companies, the impact of coronavirus on young children — these are not issues I want resolved by members of Elmo’s family.
“I’m going to take Mr. Snuffleupagus’ advice on gun control? Big Bird on polygamy? You can’t have that conversation at the level of puppetry.
“Have they become so desperate to indoctrinate that they’re willing to infiltrate the world of puppets in order to convey messages about a decision that, I think, is as yet not totally underwritten with scientific data?”
Brand also mentioned in his segment the recent op-ed in Newsweek by Dr. Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor and author, criticizing the decision to move ahead with vaccinations for children despite “no outcomes data” in this age group.
“People don’t trust the CDC,” Makary wrote, citing the agency’s decision to recommend COVID-19 booster shots for children ages 5-11, despite a Pfizer spokesperson admitting its own study of 140 children did not determine the efficacy of the booster in 5- to 11-year-olds.
“That didn’t matter to the CDC,” Makary explained. He added:
“Seemingly hoping for a different answer, the agency put the matter before its own kangaroo court of curated experts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
“I listened to the meeting, and couldn’t believe what I heard. At times, the committee members sounded like a group of marketing executives.”
Brand asked, when it comes to medical decisions, “How about an adult conversation with, for example, Marty Makary … rather than a conversation with Elmo?”
“Makary is hardly an anti-vaxxer. Makary is saying that vaccines ought to be focused on at-risk children rather than ubiquitously recommended.”
In response to Elmo’s dad having questions about getting the vaccine for Elmo, Brand said:
“You’re damn right there’s questions! Of course there are bloody questions. There are questions about the way that PBS is funded and whether or not PBS’ funding could ever be at threat if they didn’t follow certain government edicts.
“There are questions about the efficacy of the vaccine in that age group [and] the necessity for vaccines in that age group.”
Watch the Russell Brand episode here: