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Elmo Vaccination Video Blasted by Watchdog Groups

”It is inappropriate for the federal government to market pharmaceutical products directly to very young children,“ National Vaccine Information Center president tells TheWrap

Uh-oh, looks like Elmo might have come down with an affliction that’s very difficult to shake off: The wrath of groups that advocate for choice in vaccination.

Advocacy groups lashed out on Monday after a video featuring “Sesame Street” favorite Elmo extolling the benefits of vaccines hit the web.

In the video, Elmo, at the doctor’s office and nervous about receiving a shot, is greeted by U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy, who explains the importance of vaccinations.

“Do you carry an umbrella when it rains?” Murthy asks Elmo in the video, produced by the Daily Dot. “Do you ride a helmet when you ride a tricycle?”

In the end, Elmo embraces the idea of vaccination, and gets poked with a needle while singing Taylor Swift‘s “Shake It Off.”

The video has some up in arms, however, and it’s not because Elmo is revealed as a T-Swizzle fan.

“It is inappropriate for the federal government to market pharmaceutical products directly to very young children who have no concept of risk. Vaccines are pharmaceutical products that, like all pharmaceuticals, carry a risk of reactions that can lead to injury or death and parents are legally responsible for making informed decisions for minor children about medical interventions that can cause harm,” Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, told TheWrap in a statement.

The non-profit charitable organization, which was founded in 1982, seeks “to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and protect the ethical principle of informed consent to medical risk-taking.” The NVIC also “advocates for the inclusion of flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions in all US vaccine policies and laws.”

Loe Fisher added, “Federal health officials have no business using taxpayer dollars to try to drive a wedge between children and their parents using deceptive messaging that fails to acknowledge that vaccine risks can and do turn out to be 100 percent for some children.”

The Sesame Workshop has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on criticism of the video, which was created by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Sesame Street and the Daily Dot.

The NVIC isn’t the only group to take issue with the video. A representative for the Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute, which “encourages an uncensored exchange of vaccine information, and supports every family’s right to accept or reject vaccines,” told TheWrap: “We’re not happy about it. I wonder if it’s even legal for the government to advertise vaccines to children.”

Watch the video below, and share your thoughts in the comments section: Is the Elmo video appropriate?