Big Bird’s seemingly innocuous—and obviously fictional— announcement Saturday that he was vaccinated for Covid-19 caused a stir online, as Republicans like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz accused the yellow anthropomorphic bird of tweeting “government propaganda.”
“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,” the eight-foot two-inch Muppet wrote on Twitter. “Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!”
While Big Bird has been on Sesame Street for decades, his ageless character is meant to be six years-old. He only became eligible for the vaccine in late October when the FDA announced it had authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children between five and 11.
The right-wing quickly seized on the Muppet’s tweet.
“Government propaganda…for your 5 year old!,” Sen. Cruz tweeted.
“Brainwashing children who are not at risk from COVID. Twisted,” Lisa Boothe of Fox News wrote.
Robbie Starbuck, a Republican running for Congress in Tennessee, joked about Big Bird dying from the shot, saying “*7 days later* Big blood clot Bird is served!.”
Of course, many were happy to see Big Bird’s tweet, thanking Sesame Street for discussing the shot. People also shared clips from decades ago in which the yellow puppet introduced to concept of vaccination to the show’s audience.
“Sesame Street” has been discussing Covid-19 throughout the pandemic, teaching kids about masks, staying healthy and discussing vaccines.
Little research has been done about birds getting Covid-19, but the CDC says “chickens and ducks do not seem to become infected or spread the infection based on results from studies.”