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Big Bird Isn’t the First Celebrity Vaccine Advocate

It might come as a surprise to some folks, but Big Bird isn’t the first celebrity vaccine advocate!

Ted Cruz condemned Big Bird for advocating Covid vaccines for kids, calling it government propaganda...
Believe it or not, Ted Cruz condemned Big Bird for being a vaccine advocate, calling it government propaganda…

In fact, this isn’t even the first time that Big Bird has advocated for vaccines!

Big Bird Isn’t the First Celebrity Vaccine Advocate

Remember when Big Bird got his measles vaccine?

Wait, why was Big Bird advocating for measles vaccines in 1972?

You likely don’t remember, but this was just after the first measles vaccines were introduced and was at a time when we still had over 30,000 cases of measles in the United States and 24 deaths!

Parents of Earth, are your children fully immunized?
In 1977, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Centers for Disease Control put C-3P0 and R2-D2 on a poster that “gently but effectively recommends that children be fully immunized.”

While this was down from the pre-vaccine era, when there were up to 500,000 cases of measles and 500 deaths each year, with a safe and effective vaccine available, advocates worked to continue to lower cases and get every child vaccinated and protected.

But again, Big Bird wasn’t the first celebrity vaccine advocate…

In 1954, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz asked everyone to “give every dime and dollar” they could spare to fight polio, becoming some of the first celebrity vaccine advocates.

Before the campaign to end measles in the 1970s, there was the fight to stop polio! From Grace Kelly to Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, stars lined up to support the efforts of the March of Dimes to end polio, with celebrity comedian Eddie Cantor leading the way.

And before that?

Lewis Carroll liked to believe impossible things, but that the smallpox vaccine could cause other people to get smallpox wasn’t one of them.

Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) who is best known for writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, had an ongoing correspondence published in the Eastbourne Chronicle (1877) in which he refuted the claims of Mr W Hume-Rothery that the smallpox vaccine “was causing smallpox in large numbers of people” and discredited the value of vaccination in preventing smallpox.

There are also plenty of times that characters in TV shows and movies advocated for vaccines.

Folks lined up to get vaccinated against smallpox in Red River Station, at least they did once more and more people started dying of smallpox.
Folks lined up to get vaccinated against smallpox in Red River Station, at least they did once more and more people started dying of smallpox.

Remember when Gil and Rowdy (Rawhide) got exposed to smallpox and had to leave the herd to find smallpox vaccine?

Sam Drucker gave everyone free flu shots at his general store to prevent a flu epidemic in Petticoat Junction.
Sam Drucker gave everyone free flu shots at his general store to prevent a flu epidemic in Petticoat Junction.

Or when Dr. Janet Craig, with nurses Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo and Betty Jo, got everyone in the valley (Petticoat Junction) vaccinated against the flu to prevent an epidemic, including Jasper Tweedy and his whole clan.

Mister Rogers gets a flu shot.
Mister Rogers took us on a trip to the Center City Health Center so that kids would understand what happens when they get an immunization.

Even Mister Rogers advocated for vaccines on his show!

These celebrities understand that they can use their celebrity status and influence to help save lives by advocating for vaccines and getting children and adults vaccinated and protected.

More on Celebrity Vaccine Advocates

1 thought on “Big Bird Isn’t the First Celebrity Vaccine Advocate”

  1. Big bird says it’s a good idea, so it must be.

    If the vaccine protects people, why do people who are vaccinated still get, and spread, covid-19? And if it protects, why is it a big deal if a percentage of the population refuse to get the shot? Shouldn’t the “protected” still be protected??

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