NEW YORK, N.Y. — Big Bird of “Sesame Street” announced over the weekend that he got vaccinated against COVID-19, which sparked backlash from some conservatives.
“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,” tweeted the Muppet on Saturday. “Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!”
President Joe Biden commended Big Bird for getting the shot, saying, “Good on ya, @BigBird. Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep your whole neighborhood safe.”
Before Big Bird announced he had gotten the shot on social media, he appeared alongside his Granny Bird on CNN’s “The ABCs of COVID vaccines” to ask questions about the vaccine and discuss some fears about it.
“I’m a little scared to get the shot ‘cause I don’t like needles. Will it hurt?” said Big Bird.
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and journalist Erica Hill gave Big Bird some pointers about getting through vaccinations, like singing a song during it.
“Aw, it’s OK to be scared and to have some of those big feelings, Big Bird. Can I tell you something? I’m a grownup and I don’t really like needles either. In fact, even as an adult, I don’t like to look when the doctor puts that shot in my arm," said Hall.
The iconic character Big Bird was created in 1969, but he remains just 6 years old, putting him in the 5-11 age group, which is now permitted to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the smaller dose of the vaccine for kids 5-11 last week after the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for the children’s vaccine.
Though Big Bird is a fictional character, the backlash sparked by his vaccination is real.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is among the GOP members calling Big Bird’s vaccination “government propaganda.” Cruz himself is vaccinated, but he is against vaccine mandates. Others, like Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe, accused “Sesame Street” of “brainwashing children.” Robby Starbuck, a Republican running for Congress in Tennessee, joked about the Muppet dying in a tweet with a gif of a cooked turkey and said, “*7 days later* Big blood clot Bird is served!”
However, Big Bird has his supporters too, who pointed out that “Sesame Street” characters have been used in child immunization campaigns dating back to the 1970s. Big Bird himself has discussed vaccinations in the past.