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Elmo joins the surgeon general to talk about vaccines (VIDEO)

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine, Cosmopolitan.com,...

Elmo gets vaccinated and explains why you should too

Everyone's favorite Muppet has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to get the word out about an important topic: vaccines. Elmo and Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy star in a video together to help viewers understand why vaccines are so important and how they can keep you healthy.

The video, which is out just in time for National Infant Immunization Week (April 18-25), hopes to get the message across that vaccines are safe, effective and helpful in protecting entire communities. From Surgeon General Murthy's blog:

Among children in the U.S. born between 1994 and 2013, routine vaccinations will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.

Despite the heated debates that spring up around the topic of vaccines, it's incredibly important for folks, especially those with young children, to educate themselves about the realities of vaccines and the diseases they protect us from, especially in light of recent outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles.

That is why Dr. Murthy has teamed up with Elmo to spread his message even further, explaining vaccinations in a way that kids might understand. Dr. Murthy explains to a curious Elmo that vaccines help protect you much like an umbrella on a rainy day or a helmet when riding a bike. And they even bring a little Taylor Swift into the mix. Dr. Murthy suggests Elmo sing a song to help distract him from the slight pinch of the vaccine, and the furry Muppet belts out Swift's "Shake It Off."

The video ends with Elmo posing a question many are wondering about when it comes to vaccines:

"Boy, that was so easy! Why doesn't everybody get a vaccination?"

Murthy replies as they both stroke their chins: "That's a good question, Elmo. That's a good question."

Hopefully this video — and Elmo! — can help parents walk nervous kids through the steps of getting their vaccines and put everyone's mind at ease.

More on vaccines

Do you vaccinate your kids? (VIDEO)
Can vaccinating moms and non-vaccinating moms be friends?
Dad asks school to ban kids who aren't vaccinated

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