Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Tuesday blasted PBS and HBO for using the television character Elmo to "aggressively advocate" for vaccinating children under 5 without citing scientific evidence.
"Thanks, @sesamestreet for saying parents are allowed to have questions!" Cruz tweeted along with a video clip of Elmo's dad, Louie, explaining to Elmo that getting vaccinated was the best way to keep him and his neighborhood safe and healthy.
"You then have @elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this," the lawmaker added.
"I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the covid vaccine. Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice," Louie says to the camera in a clip shared online Tuesday. "I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love," he said before hugging Elmo.
Cruz and 20 other lawmakers have called on the Food and Drug Administration and its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee panel to provide additional information on COVID-19 vaccines for babies and toddlers.
They want to know why the FDA has lowered the efficacy bar for COVID-19 vaccines for the age group, and how many lives the agency estimates will be saved over the next year with the vaccine.
Additionally, they want to know how many healthy children ages 5 and under without pre-existing conditions have died or been hospitalized from COVID-19 or its variants.
"We are in our third year with COVID-19, and we know vastly more about the virus now than we did in 2020," Cruz said in a press release.
"One of the most important things we know is that this virus poses minimal risk for children. Before the FDA approves an Emergency Use Authorization for a children's vaccine, parents should be able to see the data and paperwork they would use to justify this decision. This is the least the FDA can do for families in Texas and across the country so parents can make the best decisions for their children."
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