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Gesundheit, Elmo: US Teams With Sesame Street to Slow Swine Flu

By Spencer S. Hsu
Three federal agencies are teaming up with the colorful muppets of Sesame Street to teach children and families how to prevent the spread of swine flu this fall, such as by washing their hands, sneezing into the bend in their arms and not touching their faces.

But don't worry parents -- the show's garbage can-dwelling Oscar the Grouch won't be preaching cleanliness. The spots are expected to feature the gentle Elmo and human character Gordon.

"We are thrilled to partner with Elmo, Gordon, and Sesame Workshop again to emphasize the steps kids and their parents can take to stay happy and healthy this school year," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

The partnership continues a series of public service announcements created in May by Sesame Workshop, the group that produces the children's public television program, HHS, and the departments of Homeland Security and Education.

Children and young families are expected to be among groups most at risk of infection with the new H1N1 virus. DHS faced criticism last year when it tried to enlist the furry Sesame Street denizens to teach emergency preparedness to young kids, but a swine flu
campaign featuring the Muppets of Plaza S├ęsamo was popular in Mexico, where celebrities also donated time to the messages.

Posted at 11:01 AM ET on Sep 1, 2009  | Category:  Health Care Health Care
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Tracy- I think they just hung around after the lull from the healthcare debate.

Posted by: leap1 | September 2, 2009 8:07 AM

Wow, the anti-vaccine wackos have arrived early.

Posted by: tracymohr | September 2, 2009 7:42 AM

ELMO will be turned into a status quo neo-con working for BIG PHARM by the same powers that did the same brain washing to most of our recent presidents and most of the general population. ELMO will be the next Orwellian BIG BROTHER to our children. You'll be in the kitchen doing dishes while junior is glued to the tube watching ELMO and slowly being brainwashed. The vaccines junior is getting is helping him on his way to becoming one of "THEM"!Soon you won't recognize him and he won't recognize you. Its the invasion of the body snatchers. You take him to school, entrusting the teachers to take care of junior...but in reality the programming is continuing. In two generations it's all over...end game....long live ELMO....long live ELMO....Long live ELMO!!! PHILesq

Posted by: philiplockerman | September 2, 2009 4:13 AM

This is the same "status quo" government that allows the Adjuvant thimerosal and squalene to be used on pregnant women and children 1st.The same government that lifted the federal ban on these adjuvants so they could be used with impunity by the vaccine manufacturers.The same government that gathers $$$ from the BIG PHARM BOYS and all their lobbying on the beltway in D.C.The same government that allows these vaccines to not go through the F.D.A.'s mandated "cinical trials" (1 to 2 years), but to be tested on human guinea pig volunteers.The same government that won't tell you about the side affects of these adjuvants so you can make an informed and rational decision.Its the same government that wants to pass a national health care plan for our benefit. Just think if a national health care plan passes the boys on the beltway and the BIG PHARM BOYS will have even more impunity and less accountability to the American people. Just what federally mandated health experiment do they have in store for us next if a national health plan passes.Be afraid...be very afraid!! PHILesq

Posted by: philiplockerman | September 2, 2009 3:53 AM

Hey, askgees, how many adults don't wash their hands? This reply was brought to you by the number 11.

Posted by: jacquelyn2009 | September 1, 2009 11:25 PM

Swine-Flu Scare Hysteria!! - How Sad that America listens to the Big $Pharma, phony FDA, & AMA "CRAP" about the Swine Flu Scheme!! Just like the CANCER Profit Fiasco,- which can be easily removed with the adequate knowledge of NUTRITON & NATURAL ALTERNATIVES!- There are Alternative / Natural Health Remedies to Protect us all from this Mythical Killer! Why doesn't the AMA tell the TRUTH?! Are YOU KIDDING, - THERE IS sO MUCH $Money to be made off of us Sucker Scaredy-Cat Suckers!! The Health Care Controllers & their' $Big Money PHARMA Cronies can't wait to $Reap the Rewards of the next Big Phoney Epidemic!! We have already removed / Cured this SWINE-FLU Fiasco! - But, the Federal government Conspiracy Gang know that $$Billions are to be made off of this Disease Flu Fiasco!! - My Herbal Supplemets can easily remove this so-called Disease from the human body. - But, since I am Not a paid-Off part of the $AMA / FDA / PHARMA insider group - then I am ignored and out-lawed!! How sad that Our U.S. Citizens have to Suffer, unless paying $Billions to these Phoney Crooks!! - "ReFidolize" - jward52 (hebalist & whole-life-extensionist).

Posted by: jward52 | September 1, 2009 10:33 PM

fredrick291: Perhaps if some of our patriotic American pharmaceutical companies could be bothered to make the vaccine, we wouldn't have shortages. Five companies are supplying the vaccine to the US: Five companies are making swine flu vaccine for the U.S. market -- AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit, CSL Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis AG and Sanofi-Aventis SA. I guess they're too busy searching for the next boner pill to bother.

Depending upon foreign countries to supply us with vaccine has its downside.

Posted by: drlubs | September 1, 2009 10:19 PM

Good God there is no shortage of wackos in this comment thread!

Is it any wonder the Post keeps Hiatt on board with the editorial department?

They are just supporting their readers.

Posted by: davebo1 | September 1, 2009 9:59 PM

When is Obama AND HIS FAMILY going to have the H1N1 flu vaccine? They should be the first and it should be televised. He and the doctor administering the shots will also have to put their hands on the Quaran and SWEAR its the real untested vaccine.

Posted by: Callie369 | September 1, 2009 6:56 PM

That's right kids. Step right up and get your Kool Aid. Can't start the brainwashing to early. Because the govt is your friend and here to "help". Google "squalene"

Posted by: robertsgt401 | September 1, 2009 5:23 PM

To all the right wingers, you come out from under your rocks for this?? Yes were awake now and were going to take back whats ours. ha ha ha

Posted by: fredrick291 | September 1, 2009 5:03 PM

To Koch 2, if you really believe youre independent, and the rest of that, youre nuts!!!

Posted by: fredrick291 | September 1, 2009 5:00 PM

This virus is airborn, whats with all the hand washing?? Its a ploy by govt. to switch the responsibility to you!!! Where is the shot for this, and why are the europeans holding over 100 million doses we ordered?? Why play this down?? If half the population get this and you hae 8-10 % fatality rate, how many die??? 40 million doses for the US is an insult!!!!!

Posted by: fredrick291 | September 1, 2009 4:57 PM

Republicans should be indignant that the infernal liberals use Sesame Street characeters to advance their social agenda!

Republicans never put great stock in Sesame Street, being too full of characters of dubious zoological stock or gender identiy. The neighborhood was not ideal fo GOP canvassing, perhaps best left out of vote counts by some clever means. Grouch was the only character with a disposition worth praise. He knew trash, alright.

The world's Cheneys, Limbaughs, Palins, and McDonnells would prefer children's broadcasting that uses powerful father-CEO types as role models. The show host would, like Bounderby and Gradgrind, prepare the little ones for lives of toil, self-reliance, obedience, and hard knocks. Elmos, Ernies and other wimpish types would be the butts of jokes, fall sick with swine flu, suffer for their financial imprudence, and get pushed out of the way by tougher typed en route to wealth and power.

Posted by: jkoch2 | September 1, 2009 4:50 PM

No surprise here. The incompetent Obama cabal has been one big cartoon since they took over and began destroying our economy, our security and the constitution.
Just a bunch of anti American leftist losers.

Posted by: LarryG62 | September 1, 2009 4:38 PM

Elmo? You're joking.

Was Miss Piggy not available or what?

Posted by: anon99 | September 1, 2009 3:40 PM


Well, this is hardly the first time that the government has deployed propaganda in favor of health programs for kids. No conspiracy here.

See the 2 min., 39 sec. 1961 video
"Go, you chicken fat, go!" from the Kennedy administration:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af2j59zzX3Q

But as scrivener58 pointed out below, Elmo promoting kid mass vaccination with an unproven and possibly dangerous serum terrifies me.

Posted by: bloggersvilleusa | September 1, 2009 2:42 PM

Elmo is just a holdover from the previous Administration. On the other hand, I'd be wary of sending 'Brownie' to get this done.

Posted by: gannon_dick | September 1, 2009 2:30 PM

Yeah great, this is part of the new Obamacare. Next week we will have Oscar The Grouch to combat heart dzs and Big Bird as the Cancer Czar.

Posted by: affirmativeactionpresident | September 1, 2009 2:10 PM

askgees: You must not have young children. Elmo is still a ROCK STAR with that set (4 and unders) and, yes they still watch Sesame Street.

When kids get positive messages from multiple sources, they learn more and retain more. Having Elmo reinforce what they learn at home can only be a good thing.

No different that the PSAs about littering (tearful Native American) or forest fires (Smokey Bear) when we were children.

Posted by: RJD1 | September 1, 2009 12:51 PM

Teach your kids to wash their hands as long as it takes them to sing Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | September 1, 2009 11:31 AM

Do kids today even watch the Muppets???? I think teaching children is the responsibly of the parents and society allowing them to shrug off this responsibility is where the problem begins. How difficult is it to teach a child to WASH THEIR HANDS???? I don't think we should be fighting the flu we should be fighting stup1d1ty.

Posted by: askgees | September 1, 2009 11:26 AM


Elmo promoting kid hand-washing tickles me.

Elmo promoting kid mass vaccination with an unproven and possibly dangerous serum terrifies me.

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 1, 2009 11:17 AM

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