Vaccinating Big Bird, Children, and Giving Adults a Choice to Vaccinate

Sesame Street’s Big Bird Gets a Covid Vaccination

After Sesame Street’s Big Bird tweeted that he received the COVID-19 vaccine, Sen. Ted Cruz and other right-wing media figures criticized the character for promoting “propaganda” to children.

Sesame Street launched a promotional campaign during the past week after the COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for ages 5-11, according to Insider.

Big Bird@BigBird

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. Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!

Big Bird account posted on Saturday.

Ted Cruz Criticizes Big Bird Over COVID-19 Vaccine (

Big Bird’s post drew more than 258,000 likes and more than 16,000 comments by Monday morning.


Ted Cruz Critiques Big Bird’s Vaccination

A response from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was among them. Cruz responded to the tweet, accusing Big Bird of promoting “propaganda.”

“Government propaganda…for your 5 year old!” he wrote on Twitter.

Newsmax host Steve Cortes also responded, calling Big Bird’s post “evil.”

“This kind of propaganda is actually evil,” he wrote in a tweet. “Your children are not statistically at risk, and should not be pressured into a brand new treatment. Do Not Comply!”

Ted Cruz Criticizes Big Bird Over COVID-19 Vaccine (

Other right-wing figures, including Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe and political commentator Michael Cernovich, also posted criticism about Big Bird’s comment. Several people, including Cruz, continued to post new comments about Big Bird throughout the weekend.


Oh, The Irony . . .

Then the vaccines arrived.

They proved so powerful, and the partisan attitudes toward them so different, that a gap in Covid’s death toll quickly emerged. I have covered that gap in two newsletters — one this summer, one last month — and today’s newsletter offers an update.

The brief version: The gap in Covid’s death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point.

In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump counties died from Covid, more than three times higher than the rate in heavily Biden counties (7.8 per 100,000). October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened.

U.S. Covid Deaths Get Even Redder – The New York Times (

Some conservative writers have tried to claim that the gap may stem from regional differences in weather or age, but those arguments fall apart under scrutiny. (If weather or age were a major reason, the pattern would have begun to appear last year.) The true explanation is straightforward: The vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing severe Covid, and almost 40 percent of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10 percent of Democratic adults.

Charles Gaba in Michigan, who I know and a nonpolitico health care analyst, has pointed out the gap is also evident at finer gradations of political analysis: Counties where Trump received at least 70 percent of the vote have an even higher average Covid death toll than counties where Trump won at least 60 percent. (Look up your county.)

Almost all-White and trump majority Livingston County, Michigan with ~180,000 people has almost twice per 100,000 cases than what Wayne County, Michigan has with a population of 1.7 million and nine times the density per square mile.

U.S. Covid Deaths Get Even Redder – The New York Times (

Ted Cruz Criticizes Big Bird Over COVID-19 Vaccine (