V IS FOR VACCINE: CNN and Sesame Street host town hall encouraging kids ages 5 to 11 to get vaccinated

A play-by-play of Sesame Street's town hall event on CNN.

Beth Baisch Toronto ON

As the COVID-19 vaccine begins to be administered to children as young as 5-years-old, CNN hosted a town hall with the beloved inhabitants of Sesame Street to encourage children to get vaccinated.

"The ABCs of COVID Vaccines," hosted by CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and journalist Erica Hill, opened with 5-year-old monster Rosita excitedly telling her friends how she just got her first dose of the COVID vaccine.

This led to scripted questions from 6-year-old Big Bird, whose Granny Bird wants him to get the shot.

The rest of the show went as follows:

Big Bird doesn't even know what a vaccine is, prompting Gupta and Hill to bring in an "expert": Super Grover, who is saddened to hear they did not want to talk about vacuums.

The mic is then handed off to Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who helped develop a COVID vaccine, who fielded several questions from children, describing the vaccine's ingredients to one as "a message wrapped in a ball of fat" that tells the body how to fight COVID.

A father asks how parents can be certain children are getting the correct dose of the vaccine, and is simply told by "the color of the vial."

Another child asks if the COVID vaccine is "a superhero for the villian coronavirus." Corbett responds to say that "the vaccine is just your training camp for you to become the superhero."

Big Bird's Granny Bird—visibly flustered at the opportunity to talk to Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy—says she heard that COVID-19 "doesn't make kids that sick." Murthy acknowledges that it doesn't, but that "COVID has taken a big toll on our children" and so they should still get the shot.

Granny Bird gasps when Gupta tells her children can still spread the virus to others, including grandparents, and decides to take Big Bird for his shot.

Elmo becomes excited at the prospect of getting the vaccine after a child asks if he will get one. Gupta tells Elmo that the vaccine is only available to children 5 and older, but that "scientists are working hard" to change that. In the meantime, he is told to keep wearing a mask, which Elmo excitedly agrees to.

By the end of the special, Big Bird has been given his first COVID shot, and Elmo has a new favorite thing to dress as: Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The special closes with Elmo, in his Gupta costume, whispering "Elmo loves you" to the viewers.


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