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GOP’s Ted Cruz feuds with Elmo over kids getting COVID-19 vaccines

(WASHINGTON) — Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas took aim at Sesame Street’s “Elmo” after the popular children’s show puppet promoted COVID-19 vaccines for children on Twitter.

A minute-long clip posted on the show’s Twitter page showed Elmo speaking with his loving TV puppet dad, Louie, about feeling “a little pinch” when got a shot. Louie then says he had questions about Elmo getting the vaccine, which he took to Elmo’s pediatrician.

“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.

“Elmo” retweeted the original tweet from the Sesame Street page, echoing that his vaccination will benefit his loved ones.

But the puppet’s message didn’t sit well with the junior senator from Texas.

Cruz took to Twitter where he said Elmo “aggressively” advocates for vaccinating young children without citing scientific evidence.

The senator’s tweet linked to a June press release in which Cruz announced he and 17 fellow members of Congress called on the Food and Drug Administration to answer 19 questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for kids.

“Why has the FDA recently lowered the efficacy bar for COVID vaccines for youngest children?” one question asks.

While the Sesame Street video with Elmo and Louie does not directly offer scientific evidence for the COVID-19 children’s vaccine, a voice promotes asking questions about the vaccine and directs viewers to GetVaccineAnswers.org at the end of the video.

“Thanks, @sesamestreet for saying parents are allowed to have questions!” Cruz wrote, in an apparent flippant reaction.

The website mentioned in the Sesame Street video offers that research and clinical trials demonstrate the vaccine is safe and effective for children.

This is not the first time Cruz has gone after a Sesame Street character online.

In November, Elmo’s fellow Sesame Street puppet, Big Bird, tweeted about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. At the time, Cruz called it “government propaganda.”

Cruz’s latest attack on a muppet comes less than two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for children older than six months.

On Wednesday, the U.S. government bought 105 million COVID-19 shots from Pfizer for $3.2 billion with a late summer to fall delivery date.

Pfizer and Moderna produce the two vaccines approved for children under five years old.

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