Elmo got a COVID vaccine, kicking off U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s second Muppet feud

Elmo (right, with Cookie Monster) got vaccinated, and Sen. Ted Cruz isn't pleased.
Timothy A. Clary—Associated Foreign Press via Getty Images

Everyone’s favorite Muppet, Elmo, got his COVID vaccine on Tuesday, Sesame Street announced.

“There was a little pinch, but it was OK!” the perennial three-year-old said.

More than 9,000 Twitter users liked the post.

But Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wasn’t among them.

“Thanks, @sesamestreet, for saying parents are allowed to have questions!” he wrote on Twitter, referencing Elmo’s dad’s statement that he had a lot of questions before deciding to vaccinate his son.

 “You then have @elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”

Cruz then tweeted a link to an article from Christian satire news site Babylon Bee that proclaimed “Elmo dies of myocarditis after receiving COVID vaccine.”

“I wish this were satire,” Cruz wrote.

Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have proclaimed the vaccines safe and effective for those 6 months and older. Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, can occur after a viral illness like COVID. It only very rarely happens after vaccination, and there is a less than a 0.01% chance of contracting the condition after vaccination, according to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a pediatric hospital system in Georgia.

Elmo’s announcement comes shortly after the June 18 approval of the vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Muppet’s colleague, 6-year-old Big Bird, announced his own vaccination status on Twitter in November, shortly after the final approval for the shot to be administered in children 5 to12 years of age.

At the time, Cruz called that tweet “government propaganda…for your 5-year-old!”

The pandemic is far from the first occasion on which Sesame Street cast members have teamed up to promote public health initiatives. There are more than 20 versions of Sesame Street worldwide that promote public health issues relative to a variety of countries, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. South Africa’s version has tackled HIV/AIDS, the U.S. version has tackled obesity, and in 2016 Elmo and friend Raya partnered with the Pan American Health Organization to raise awareness of Zika virus.

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