Even Elmo’s Dad Has Gotten Vaccinated Against COVID-19

A series of new PSAs from Sesame Workshop and the CDC aim to educate parents about COVID-19 vaccines.

by Morgan Brinlee

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the popular children’s television show Sesame Street, has teamed up with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ad Council to educate parents on COVID-19 vaccines. In a PSA unveiled Wednesday, Elmo’s dad Louie explains why he got vaccinated against COVID-19 — and why it’s important that other adults also get the vaccine.

“Lots of grownups are getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” Louie tells viewers in a new PSA titled, Feeling Hopeful with Elmo and Louie. “Soon, lots of us will be able to do our favorite things again. I can’t wait. That’s why I got the COVID-19 vaccine — so me and my family and neighbors can get back to playdates, trips, cookouts, and sports.”

Louie isn’t the only one eager to schedule playdates with friends. But as the PSA reveals, there’s something he’s looking forward to even more than sharing a plate of cookies with Cookie Monster. “Elmo knows what Elmo wants to do first,” the young muppet exclaims. “Visit Nana. Yeah, Elmo misses her so much.”

Sesame Workshop, the Ad Council, and the CDC are hoping the PSA — one of three which rolled out Wednesday and stars muppets from Sesame Street — will help adults understand just how vital COVID-19 vaccinations are to helping children and families return to the activities they enjoy, like visiting beloved grandparents.

“Getting back to the activities children and families love starts with grownups getting vaccinated,” Samantha Maltin, Sesame Workshop’s EVP and chief marketing officer, said in a statement shared with Romper. “Together with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, and with help from the Sesame Street Muppets, we can harness the power of Sesame Workshop and the reach of the Ad Council to help adults understand why it’s important to get vaccinated, where to learn more, and how to build hope for sunnier days ahead.”

In another PSA released Wednesday, Louie and Elmo discuss how getting a COVID-19 vaccine is an important part of staying healthy. A third features a montage of different Sesame Street characters enjoying hugs, playdates, games, and gatherings post-vaccination as the letter U sings their own version of Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You.” All three PSAs direct parents and caregivers to bilingual resources about COVID-19 vaccines, including how to get a vaccine, information on the safety and efficacy of vaccines, and answers to frequently asked questions. Additional information can be found at Sesame Street’s Vaccine Toolkit.

“It’s understandable for Americans to have questions about the vaccines,” Ad Council President and CEO Lisa Sherman said in a statement shared with Romper. “That’s exactly why we created ‘It’s Up To You,’ to arm people with the facts so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families. Now, in collaboration with Sesame Workshop and the Sesame Street Muppets, we’re able to reach new audiences of parents and caregivers with heartfelt and informative content that will help us all get back to the people and moments we miss.”

Currently, only individuals as young as 16 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, the FDA is expected to extend its emergency authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to kids as young as 12 later this week, opening the door for at least some children to receive vaccinations against the virus.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.