Elmo got his Covid-19 vaccine.
Elmo got his COVID-19 vaccine. Image Credit: Sesame Street

Elmo got his Covid-19 vaccine.

Sesame Street's iconic, perpetually three-year-old Muppet got his Covid-19 shot in a public service announcement released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. The video comes just days after the vaccinations became available for children five years and younger. The US Food and Drug Administration and CDC authorized the Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE shots for use in younger children on June 17 and 18, respectively.

In the video, made in partnership with the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Sesame Street Foundation, Elmo talks about getting vaccinated with his dad, Louie. Both proudly sport their band-aids.

"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," Louie said.

Louie also speaks directly into the camera, acknowledging questions and concerns parents may have. He says he talked with Elmo's pediatrician to make the decision. Many parents are hesitant to sign their children up for the shots right away: 18% of parents have said they would get their children vaccinated, and only 38% said they'd "wait and see," according to an April Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor survey.

Big Bird, another of the show's famous characters, had announced he received the vaccination late last year.

Pediatrician and Covid-19 expert Zachary Rubin at Central DuPage Hospital in Illinois says the hesitation is rooted in the perceived fragility of small children. Vaccinating small children is often seen as less of a concern because children don't always have the skills to communicate their symptoms, leading people to believe they are healthy, he said.

"How parents weigh that benefit of vaccination is different when those young children aren't able to speak on how they feel," Rubin said, urging parents to keep in mind that health providers have been vaccinating children for decades.