In an effort to increase COVID-19 vaccination awareness among children, Sesame Street’s Big Bird announced he received the shot on Saturday.
"I got the COVID-19 vaccine today!" the fictional character tweeted. "My wing is feeling a little sore, but it'll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy. "
Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opens a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign to children as young as 5.
The Muppet character is reportedly known to be about 6 years old, making him "eligible" now to get the shot. President Joe Biden praised Big Bird for the move.
"Good on ya, @BigBird. Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep your whole neighborhood safe," the president wrote on Twitter.
The Food and Drug Administration had previously authorized the shots for children ages 5 to 11 — doses just a third of the amount given to teens and adults. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally issued its recommendation that 5- to 11-year-olds should receive the FDA-cleared vaccine.
In the U.S., there have been more than 8,300 coronavirus-related hospitalizations of kids ages 5 to 11, about a third requiring intensive care, according to government data. The CDC has recorded at least 94 deaths in that age group, with additional reports under investigation.
Pfizer’s study of 2,268 youngsters found the kid-size vaccine is nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 -- based on 16 diagnoses among kids given dummy shots compared to just three who got the real vaccination.
Sesame Street has made efforts to navigate its young audience through the COVID-19 pandemic and how children can cope.
Shortly after the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Elmo, Rooster and Cookie Monster did their part to help keep kids safe. The beloved Sesame Street Muppets were featured in some of four new animated public service spots reminding young fans to take care while doing such things as washing hands and sneezing.
"As families around the world adjust to their new realities, parents and caregivers are looking for help in creating new routines, staying healthy and fostering learning at home while little ones are out of school," Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.