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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, slammed Elmo and “Sesame Street” for calling on children under five years old to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Elmo, who is three years old according to the show, received the COVID-19 vaccine on camera in a recent episode. The long-running kids’ show tweeted a video of Elmo and his father discussing the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.
Cruz then responded, demanding to see evidence that the vaccine helps children of such a young age.
“Thanks, Sesame Street, for saying parents are allowed to have questions! You then have Elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this,” Cruz wrote.
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Elmo’s vaccine episode came weeks after the FDA and CDC approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children under five. Cruz and other Senate and House colleagues demanded answers from those organizations at the time, saying there was no scientific proof that young children benefited from the vaccine.
“We are in our third year with COVID-19, and we know vastly more about the virus now than we did in 2020. One of the most important things we know is that this virus poses minimal risk for children,” Cruz said in a statement at the time.
The CDC and FDA approved both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for use in young children in mid-June.
Pfizer’s regimen calls for children to receive three doses of the vaccine at one-tenth the strength of adult shots, while Moderna calls for two doses at one-fourth the strength of adult shots.
Pfizer’s trials found that the vaccine was effective in preventing COVID-19 infection 28% of the time in children aged six months to four years.
Moderna’s trials found that their regimen successfully prevented infection 51% of the time in kids aged six months to two years, falling to 37% when including those up to five years old, according to The New York Times.
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The CDC states that just 442 children under five years old have suffered deaths “involving coronavirus disease” since the pandemic began.