Why Elmo Is Right And Ted Cruz Is Wrong About COVID Vaccines For Kids

Sesame Street partnered with COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative to talk to young kids about getting vaxxed.

side by side of Elmo from Sesame Street and Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz
Paul Zimmerman/WireImage; Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

A new public service announcement from Sesame Workshop has been released aimed at persuading parents to get the COVID-19 vaccines for their kids. The announcement, which features Elmo getting his vaccination, angered Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz but Elmo is right, and Cruz is wrong. Here’s what you need to know.

According to Variety, now that COVID vaccines have been approved for children under 5 years old, Elmo — who is three-and-a-half — recently became eligible for his COVID shot. A new PSA featured the lovable red Muppet getting his shot to help reduce any fears kids may have about the needle. The segment was produced in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Yeah, there was a little pinch. But it was OK!” Elmo says after getting his shot, accompanied by his dad Louie.

“Was it safe? Was it the right decision?” Louie said, addressing a common question parents have. “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.”

This latest commercial from Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind Sesame Street, is one of a few that have all worked to increase awareness of the importance of following COVID protocols and answering questions about the vaccines. The spots are designed to speak to parents while featuring characters their kids have grown to love to help ease their fears, too.

But, if you were to ask Senator Cruz about these spots, well, he has a different opinion. And he’s wrong. In a tweet following the latest Sesame Workshop PSA, Cruz accused Elmo of “aggressively advocat[ing] for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”

There is plenty of scientific evidence that points to the benefits of vaccinating against COVID-19, and it’s not hard to find credible information if you’re looking for it. But there is also a lot of misinformation out there, too. And that’s what this spot aims to address — that it’s important to seek out credible information when it comes to making a decision on the vaccines. Which is why Elmo’s dad spoke with his son’s pediatrician, who is far more of an expert to speak on the safety of vaccines than Cruz.

“Many parents understandably have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines for young children, and we want to encourage them to ask questions and seek out information,” Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, SVP of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement, per Variety. “With help from Elmo and his dad Louie, we want to model real conversations, encourage parents’ questions, and help children know what to expect.”

If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, Sesame Workshop suggests checking out,, and