A Big Bird-size dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

Courtesy of Unsplash | As the FDA approve the Pfizer vaccine for children ages five through 11, children’s characters and media outlets are stepping up to encourage youth vaccination.

Emma Polen | layout editor

Nov. 11, 2021

This week, Big Bird from “Sesame Street” tweeted that he got the Covid-19 vaccine. This comes after another big vaccination announcement: Children ages 5 through 11 can now receive their doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. 

With the world in the state it’s in, it is important for everyone to consider receiving the vaccine for the first time, or the booster shot to keep their immunity strong. 

In the tweet, Big Bird said, “I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy.”

As a role model to kids everywhere, it was inspiring to see the 270,000 likes his tweet had received only two days after posting.

The tweet’s comments also showed that Big Bird had several different effects on his audience. 

First off, some people criticized Big Bird for not getting the vaccine sooner. But this served as a great learning experience for them: Big Bird is actually six years old. He’s a fictional character: he’s always been six.

Other commenters brought up Big Bird’s child immunization campaigns of the past.

A tweet from @HistoryMuppet showed a black and white image of Big Bird holding up a sign encouraging child vaccinations. This picture was taken in 1976 during the push for children to be vaccinated to protect their health in high-risk areas. 

Muppet Wiki’s Twitter account also shared an old clip from “Sesame Street” showing Big Bird getting the measles vaccine. The clip originally aired in 1972, but the character’s determination to get the vaccine is still relevant today. 

Still others in the comments were not in support of Big Bird’s vaccination status. 

Critics like Sen. Ted Cruz took Big Bird’s tweet as an example of “government propaganda.” But Cruz, a government leader, used Twitter to prove his own agenda. 

He posted a meme of Big Bird kicking down a door with the caption, “Big Bird coming over to vaccinate your kids.”

Memes are a comedic communication format. If Cruz was hoping to be taken seriously, he sorely misjudged his message’s medium. 

The various comments leave one to wonder what type of criticism children’s television shows dealt with during previous epidemics, or if vaccinations were as polarizing an issue as they are in 2021.

In 1977, “Star Wars” characters C-3PO and R2-D2 shared the importance of having children immunized in a brief PSA that aired on television. 

Children’s entertainment idols encouraging vaccinations is nothing new. Today, though, they have to face the wrath of meme-challenged politicians. 

It should not be a political battle. It should be a chance for members of our community to go about their daily life uninterrupted by the threat of contracting a hazardous virus. 

Children are not the only citizens encouraged to be receiving a dose of the vaccine. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are highly encouraging anyone who received a Covid-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) six months ago or more to go back in for a booster. 

Recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen as late as two months ago are eligible for a second dose, and I would advise it. 

We are coming up on the six month mark since the university began supplying vaccinations to all students and faculty. With the stressful environment of the end of the semester approaching, our immune systems could use all the help they can get. 

Furthermore, this is an increasingly dangerous time, as people stay inside during the colder months. In addition, there is the threat of the Delta variant, which according to Yale medicine is the predominant SARS CoV-2 variant. 

Yale Medicine epidemiologist F. Perry Wilson also said that Delta spreads 50% faster than the Alpha variant, which was 50% more contagious than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19).

In all, Big Bird got it right by proudly showing off his newly vaccinated status. In order to protect the people we love most, especially with the fun-packed family holidays approaching, we must consider how our actions impact others.