NEW YORK — Beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo has received his first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Variety, the nonprofit Sesame Workshop, which produces the long-running children’s TV show, shared a public service announcement Tuesday starring the Muppet, typically described as 3 1/2 years old, and his father, Louie.
“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine,” Louie said in the video. “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.”
Elmo admitted that he felt “a little pinch” during his vaccination, “but it was OK.”
“Elmo was really glad to have Daddy and Baby David there with him,” the preschooler added, referring to his favorite toy.
But the video drew criticism from some conservatives, notably Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who took to Twitter to share his concerns.
“Thanks, @sesamestreet for saying parents are allowed to have questions!” Cruz wrote. “You then have @elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”
Earlier this month, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, signed off on the advisory committee’s recommendation to allow children under 5 to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
“All children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated,” the CDC said in a June 18 news release announcing the decision. “COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.”
As of Tuesday, the rate of new COVID-19 cases appeared to be rising slightly domestically and by a larger margin globally, according to The New York Times. The U.S. was averaging 108,963 new cases per day, up 3% from two weeks earlier, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, the worldwide average was 697,797 new cases per day, up 33% from 14 days earlier.
As for fatalities, the U.S. averaged 377 deaths per day – an increase of 17% from two weeks earlier, the newspaper reported. The global average was 1,500 daily deaths, up 3% from 14 days earlier.
The CDC reported Sunday that 66.9% of the U.S. population is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 47.3% of fully vaccinated residents have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the agency said.
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