June 29, 2022 -- Parents wondering about giving small children the Covid-19 vaccination have received advice from an unlikely source: Sesame Street.
Elmo, the furry, red creature of “Tickle Me” fame, is now vaccinated.
In a new public service announcement from the Sesame Workshop, Elmo’s dad talks about whether to give the vaccine to children under 5.
Elmo is, perhaps eternally, 3 and a half.
"Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice," Louie says in the spot. "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."
COVID-19 vaccines are available for kids under 5, but not all parents are sure they want to participate.
"We hope that Louie and Elmo will inspire parents and caregivers across the country to speak with their healthcare providers and seek out information to learn about how the COVID-19 vaccines can keep young children and their families healthy," said Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop, in an email to CNN.
In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for kids as young as 6 months, CNN reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended using vaccines for kids under 5 on June 17.
"Nearly 5.7 million child cases of COVID-19 have been reported nationally in 2022 alone, making vaccination an important step to protecting both kids and their families against the highly contagious virus and its variants," the Ad Council and Sesame Workshop said in a press release.
The CDC said that by June 22, almost a third of kids 5 to 11 and almost 60% of those 12 to 17 were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.