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tv Ted Cruz Condemns Big Bird For Advocating Covid Vaccines For Kids

Other rightwingers piled on Cruz's criticism of Big Bird: ‘Brainwashing children’

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Big Bird on getting the Covid vaccine. ‘My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy.’ , Photograph: Wenn Rights Ltd/Alamy

The Texas senator Ted Cruz led conservatives in condemnation of a prominent public figure for advocating Covid-19 vaccinations for children. Big Bird.

FILES-US-HEALTH-VIRUS-VACCINE-POLITICS-MANDATE<br>(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 23, 2021, a Los Angeles County emergency medical technician administers a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccine clinic in the Arleta neighborhood of Los Angeles. - Strict rules intended to push tens of millions of US workers into getting vaccinated against Covid-19 will come into effect on January 4, 2022, President Joe Biden's administration announced November 4, 2021. The mandates targeting businesses with more than 100 employees, health care workers, and federal contractors represent the most aggressive steps Washington has taken yet against the virus and its Delta variant. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

This week saw final US approval for five- to 11-year-olds to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Sesame Street, which has offered Covid advice before, duly deployed its popular characters to encourage parents to protect their children.

Big Bird, who despite his vast size and to some slightly overbearing mien is according to the beloved show perpetually six-and-a-half-years-old, announced on Saturday that he had been vaccinated.

“I got the Covid-19 vaccine today!” the hulkingly benevolent yellow avian announced, using an appropriate communications platform, Twitter.

“My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy. [CNN reporter] Erica Hill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!”

Cruz responded: “Government propaganda … for your 5 year old!”

Other rightwingers piled in. Lisa Boothe, a Fox News contributor, said “brainwashing children who are not at risk from Covid” was “twisted”.

Children are at risk from Covid, if less so than adults. In October, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 66 children aged between five and 11 had died from Covid-19 in the US. Children can infect others and infections in the five-to-11 age group are rising, the CDC said, accounting for 10.6% of new Covid cases.

Undeterred, Steve Cortes, a host on the conservative Newsmax network, said of Big Bird’s tweet: “This kind of propaganda is actually evil. Your children are not statistically at risk, and should not be pressured into a brand new treatment. Do Not Comply!”

Resistance to vaccine mandates and other Covid public health measures persists among Republican voters, despite a US death toll of more than 753,000 from a caseload of almost 46.5m.

On Saturday, a conservative judge in New Orleans issued a temporary stay on a federal rule which says businesses with more than 100 employees must demand vaccinations or weekly testing. The Biden administration said it was confident it would prevail.

Cruz, who recently made headlines by defending the first amendment right to give Nazi salutes at school board meetings, seemed to enjoy his work on the day’s active front in the broiling culture war.

He also tweeted: “Liberals are weird. They don’t care about open borders. Or rising inflation. Or schools covering up sexual assaults. Or the disaster of Afghanistan. Or tyrannical Dem[ocrat]s violating medical privacy and freedom.

“But criticise Big Bird? And they lose their sh[it].”

The bad news for Cruz was that Big Bird seems unlikely to stop his public health advocacy, which he has pursued for years. In 1972, for example, he helped tell children: “Don’t wait, vaccinate!”

As the Twitter account Muppet Wiki – “fans and professionals working together to build the best resource about the Muppets, Sesame Street and Jim Henson” – put it: “Big Bird is so polite. Be like Big Bird.”

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