Ted Cruz is fighting a muppet over vaccines, again.
The conservative Texas Republican senator has attacked a video posted on Sesame Street’s Twitter account where Elmo’s dad is discussing the Covid-19 vaccine for children.
The video, unlike a previous Sesame Street video about vaccination that Cruz also denounced, is not just for children. It also aims to alleviate the anxiety that even some pro-vaccine parents may feel about Covid-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old that were approved earlier this month.
“It’s okay to have questions about Covid-19 vaccines for children!” read the caption of the video. “Elmo’s dad Louie talked to their pediatrician, and learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep him and his whole neighborhood safe and healthy!”
The video, which has garnered more than 500,000 views in less than 12 hours, shows Elmo excited that his dad has “super-duper bandages just like Elmo.”
“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the Covid vaccine – was it safe? Was it the right decision?” the father says, adding that he consulted Elmo’s pediatrician to learn more so he 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,” he adds.
Within a few hours, Cruz launched his second attack on Sesame Street since November, claiming that Elmo did not cite any scientific evidence for the vaccine. “Thanks, @sesamestreet for saying parents are allowed to have questions! You then have @elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this,” Cruz posted.
Cruz also linked his response to a press release from his office where he demanded answers from the Federal Drug Administration about the recent vaccine approval.
But he gathered little support on the social media thread, with most replies making fun of him for spending his time bashing a muppet.
“We now understand where you get your health care information,” one user wrote.
“Excuse me, has this episode of Sesame Street been peer reviewed?” another user commented.
The criticism is nothing new for Sesame Street, which has often been targeted by the right for taking a stand on issues from vaccines to racism after the killing of George Floyd.
In response to both the video as well as Cruz’s response, Sesame Street was further applauded for using its platform to educate its audience.
The Guardian has contacted Sesame Workshop for comments.