COVID-19 vaccine clinics haven’t shut down over on Sesame Street, as Elmo and his younger pals begin to receive their first COVID-19 vaccines as new federal guidelines roll out, allowing children six months or older to get vaccinated.
The new video PSA — a collaboration between Sesame Street’s nonprofit educational arm Sesame Workshop, the Ad Council, and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative — shows a post-vaccine conversation between three-and-a-half-year-old Elmo and his curious dad, Louie. Elmo and his dad discuss how it felt to get vaccinated (“a little pinch”), before the elder Muppet tells viewers about his initial hesitations, and later determination, to get Elmo vaccinated for the safety of the whole neighborhood. In the end, we all agree Elmo and family did a “super duper” job.
The spot was developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), with the goal of empowering parents and caregivers to have active conversations with their children about the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as encourage more parents to vaccinate their children. “With help from Elmo and his dad Louie, we want to model real conversations, encourage parents’ questions, and help children know what to expect,” wrote Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop, in the video’s press release.
New vaccine guidelines mandate that kids under 5 will be considered fully vaccinated after receiving either two doses of the Moderna vaccine (which is a quarter of the dose for adults) or receiving three doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine (a tenth of the dose for adults). For the Moderna vaccine, the does must be given four weeks apart. For the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the first two doses must be given three weeks apart, with the third dose administered at least eight weeks after the second dose.
According to the AAP, just 29 percent of children ages 5 to 11 and 59 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 were fully vaccinated in the U.S. at the beginning of June — that’s 18.2 million children ages 5 to 11 who have not received a vaccination dose. In new research from the Ad Council, 52 percent of parents polled hadn’t decided whether or not their child under 5 would be vaccinated.
These numbers are distressing figures as outdoor social activities continue through the summer and lead into a new school year. Sesame Workshop instead hopes parents can channel their anxieties into research, and get any questions they might have about the new vaccine regulations by visiting GetVaccineAnswers.org. You can also view both the website and the PSA in Spanish.
“We know there is tremendous relief that comes with the authorization of these vaccines for kids under 5, but many questions too,” wrote Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “It’s important that parents feel informed and confident about what the COVID-19 vaccines mean for their families…”