For over 50 years, Sesame Street has helped address even the toughest issues in the most kid-friendly and understandable way. From addiction, incarceration, and race to autism and homelessness, the show has never shied away from or sugar-coated the very real issues that many kids — or someone they know — face. And when COVID-19 vaccines came along, Sesame Street didn’t hesitate to address the importance of getting one. Of course, they’ve been talking about vaccinations since 1972, as this throwback Big Bird clip proves.
Big Bird may have just received his COVID-19 vaccine, but as many of you pointed out, he was learning how to keep himself and his neighbors healthy long before that! Watch as Dr. Marzullo teaches @BigBird about vaccines and administers his measles shot back in 1972. pic.twitter.com/voDs8x5vvt
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) November 8, 2021
Now that the COVID vaccine has been approved for kids under 5, parents are rejoicing — but vaccine-hesitant kiddos, maybe not so much. We’ve never known a kid who met the news of a vaccine with unbridled enthusiasm. Never fear: Sesame Street is coming in clutch to help your little one warm up to the idea of getting their COVID vaccine with some help from a perennial favorite character — Elmo!
In the new video posted to Elmo’s official Twitter account, Elmo’s dad is telling him how “super-duper” he did getting his COVID vaccine, to which Elmo replies, “There was a little pinch, but it was okay.” In just the first few seconds of the clip, they’re using two of the tactics suggested by the Cleveland Clinic for easing your child’s fears when it comes to getting poked: lots of praise, and using gentler words like “pinch” rather than “shot” or “hurt.”
Elmo got the COVID vaccine today, just like Elmo's mommy and daddy! Elmo's daddy had a lot of questions, but Elmo's doctor said the vaccine would help keep Elmo healthy, and all of Elmo's friends and family too! #CaringForEachOther https://t.co/do2AcvCfMg
— Elmo (@elmo) June 28, 2022
More tips from Cleveland Clinic include being honest with your kids about what to expect from each step of the visit (including why vaccinations are so important), bringing a comfort item from home, holding your child on your lap, and having them take 3 deep breaths before the shot to help them relax. And WebMD suggests role-playing beforehand by using a play doctor kit at home and letting your child give you a “shot.”
But as every parent knows, kids of any age tend to listen to the advice of their favorite pop culture icons better than they do the advice of their parents. And for little ones, there’s hardly a more trusted voice than Elmo’s. Show your kid Elmo’s vaccine video, and let that Sesame Street magic work — just as it has for the tough issues of the past half-century.