Big Bird — yes, the Sesame Street muppet — must have gotten his COVID-19 vaccination on his left side, because it’s increasingly clear that the right wing can’t handle it. Politicians and pundits are losing it after the character, beloved by half a century of children, announced that he’d gotten the shot.
Sesame Street has always tried to address big scary topics for kids, from divorce, to the death of a loved one. The characters have acted out scenes and performed songs to help kids handle starting school, getting a new sibling, or making a visit to the doctor. Now, as the COVID-19 vaccines become available to children, Big Bird is setting an example.
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
There’s no official count for how much of the Sesame Street target audience has a Twitter account, but it’s probably pretty low, considering the show also makes an effort to teach viewers the alphabet, but that didn’t stop certain politicians from interpreting the tweet as propaganda aimed at preschoolers.
Government propaganda…for your 5 year old! https://t.co/lKUlomnpq1
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 6, 2021
Of course, the tweet wasn’t the extent of the outreach — Sesame Street characters also joined a CNN town hall event to explain why vaccines are an important tool to protect against deadly illnesses.
Parents were invited in advance to tune in if they wanted to expose their kids to the educational message.
Though preschoolers don’t frequently access tweets or news programs without parental guidance, conservative activists saw this as a sneak attack, and described it as “brainwashing” and as telling kids “your parents hate you and want you to die.”
They’re mad at big bird lol pic.twitter.com/S1ToEN5oEc
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) November 6, 2021
Did not have “Big Bird breaking people’s brains” on my dancecard but here we are pic.twitter.com/XbdAcBX6RR
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) November 7, 2021
And yes, Big Bird made Fox News.
Get ready for the war on Big Bird pic.twitter.com/OmLA7l5Y99
— The Recount (@therecount) November 7, 2021
However, Sesame Street supporters cheered, lauding the show for yet another proud effort to reach children with positive, supportive messages. The Muppet Wiki also jumped in to note that Big Bird is not exactly new to vaccines, sharing clips from 1972.
Big Bird is so polite. Be like Big Bird. pic.twitter.com/gQRT7ZSmOk
— Muppet Wiki (@MuppetWiki) November 7, 2021
The CDC is currently recommending COVID-19 vaccination for teens and children over the age of 5 years, and it could be approved for younger children early next year.
What's Your Reaction?
Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com