Big Bird shook the feathers of some conservatives this weekend by announcing that he had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Beloved Muppet tweeted on saturday that he had been given the photo, which is newly available to Americans between the ages of 5 and 11. Big Bird has been a fixture on children’s television since 1969, but is officially 6 years old.
“My wing feels a little sore, but it will give my body an extra protective boost that will keep me and others healthy,” he wrote.
Twitter users declined in the comments, with many thanking the character for helping keep Sesame Street safe and setting a positive example for children. President Biden and centers for disease control and prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky were among those who brought their thanks and praise.
Others were not so grateful.
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, labeled Big Bird’s tweet “government propaganda.”
Both made false claims that children are not at risk for COVID-19. While most children infected with the virus show only mild symptoms, experts say vaccines can prevent many infections and hospitalizations, as well as disruptions to education.
Other commentators denounced Big Bird as a puppet (literally) and communist. Lavern Spicer, a Florida congressional candidate, wrote that “Big Bird & Elmo are at least a step UP from [Dr. Anthony] Fauci, but using them to push the drug is just as reprehensible.”
Many observers noted the irony of the stack, as Big Bird is both a fictional character and one known for spreading messages of kindness and curiosity. In addition, they pointed out that this is not the first time he has been vaccinated.
Big Bird has been helping kids vaccinate since the beginning, I’m sure everyone remembers their lessons from Sesame Street, especially the one about kindness and caring for each other. pic.twitter.com/L84kTjRWbV
— Kwertzy full turkey (@kwertzy) Nov 7, 2021
Big Bird himself said he had just learned that he had been given vaccines since he was “a little bird.”
An account called “Muppet Wiki” supported those claims with: a series of video clips from a 1972 episode where Big Bird is vaccinated against measles.
And Big Bird isn’t the only young resident of Sesame Street to get the COVID-19 shot, either. The turquoise, bilingual muppet Rosita (who is apparently 5) was also recently vaccinated.
The two appeared on CNN – also featuring Granny Bird – this weekend to share their questions, experiences and tips about getting the photo.
This story originally appeared in the morning edition live blog.