Sesame Street's New Vaccine PSAs Target Adults

by Madison Vanderberg
Sesame Street

Elmo is trying to convince adults to get the COVID-19 vaccine and is this what we’ve come to?

Sesame Street in collaboration with the Ad Council, COVID Collaborative, and CDC have launched a series of PSAs to convince grown-ups to get the vaccine. At face value this seems awesome. Shoutout to Sesame Street for spreading awareness that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and free, but also… why do Americans need goddamn Elmo to tell them this?

More than half of all adult Americans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, which is great, but daily vaccine rates are dropping as it appears that less people are enthusiastically signing up for the jab than previously expected. Vaccine hesitancy exists across all ages and demographics of Americans for a variety of reasons, but the facts are that people need to get the vaccine when it’s available to them if we have any chance of getting back to “normal,” and I guess America is running out of ways to convince people, so it’s time to bring in Sesame Street?!?!

Whole other countries have virtually zero doses of the vaccine and yet we have to get a bunch of Muppets together to convince Americans to get the jab!? Carol and Bob in rural North Dakota don’t want to get the vaccine because they saw some Facebook posts and “just don’t trust it” and now we have to get Big Bird out here to convince them to care about their health!? I can’t even say I’m shocked, because this is just so on-brand for America.

“Getting back to the activities children and families love starts with grownups getting vaccinated…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,” Samantha Maltin, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Sesame Workshop said in a statement.

The overwhelming message is that with the vaccine, “sunnier days ahead,” which is heartening and optimistic.

For example, one of the PSAs sees Elmo’s dad Louie showing off his vaccine bandaid and telling Elmo that now that he’s vaccinated they can do pre-COVID things again like hugging people, seeing grandma, and hanging out with friends indoors.

Certainly this will strike a chord with some viewers like those who have yet to get the vaccine and are truly curious and would simply like to get more information about the shot before they do it. For those viewers, Sesame Street and its collaborators at the CDC launched the website to help people feel more confident in their decision to get the shot.

I hate to be “that guy,” buuuuut liiiiiike, anti-vaxxers aren’t super motivated by needing the vaccine to “get back to normal” because they’ve been living their normal lives this entire time.

The Venn diagram of anti-vaxxers and people who just don’t care or believe in COVID is a nearly perfect overlapping circle. Have you walked past a Waffle House in a red state? Have you been to Florida at all? It’s like COVID-19 doesn’t exist there, except it does, because it’s still killing people. Is that too dark? Whatever, these are the stakes. Anti-maskers, COVID-deniers, the “but my rights” crowd — whatever you wanna call them — are typically the ones who aren’t getting the vaccine and they’re the same ones that have been hosting get-togethers and hugging and doing things indoors without masks the entire pandemic.

Although I hope these optimistic ads about hugging grandma will convince some people to get vaccinated, I don’t have high hopes for the rest of the typical vaccine-hesitant crowd.

Sesame Street

Le sigh. At least we know Elmo’s dad won’t get COVID-19.