US Senator Ted Cruz was recently at the forefront of a Twitter exchange regarding COVID-19 vaccines with none other than Sesame Street’s Big Bird.
The 8-foot muppet appeared on CNN’s Town Hall on Saturday as part of an ongoing series titled “The ABCs of COVID-19” alongside reporter Erica Hill. He later tweeted: "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. Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!"
Senator Cruz responded to Big Bird’s tweet, referring to it as “government propaganda,” and he was not alone in his criticism. Fox News’s Lisa Boothe regarded the tweet as “Brainwashing children who are not at risk from COVID. Twisted.”
Not everyone shared this belief, however. Dr. Tom Nelson, an emergency room physician from Indiana thanked Big Bird for getting his vaccine. Senator Cruz also received a reminder from Walter Schaub, a former director of the US Office of Government Ethics, that "You are vaccinated."
This debate comes alongside news that this week the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine gained final CDC approval for use in children ages five-11. Big Bird is described in the Sesame Street writers’ guide as six and a half years old, making him an appropriate candidate to receive the vaccine within the newly approved age group. Despite his age, Big Bird has a track record of promoting vaccines dating back to 1972.
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.Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!— Big Bird (@BigBird) November 6, 2021
Many parents have raised concerns over whether the vaccine is necessary for kids. The first strains of the COVID-19 virus did not largely affect children, but it’s possible that newer variants may pose more cause for concern. The CDC reported in October that 66 children between ages five-11 have died from COVID-19, and the rates are rising. Children are also able to transmit the virus to other populations. The US is one of the first nations worldwide to approve a vaccine for this age group.
At present, the US faces a death toll of over 753,000, and 46.5 million Americans have been infected.