POLITICS

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Joins Forces With Elmo To Promote Vaccinations

04/17/2015 03:37 pm ET | Updated Apr 17, 2015

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and the Department of Health and Human Services enlisted the help of Elmo on Friday to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.

Murthy revealed a 30-second public service announcement with the Muppet Friday in a blog post published on the HHS website, in which he discusses the importance of vaccines.

"It's my job to help everyone stay healthy," Murthy tells Elmo in the ad.

"Can Elmo help too?"

"Absolutely, Elmo. You can get all your vaccinations on time. Those are the shots that help you stay healthy," Murthy responds, assuring him he'll only feel a pinch and encouraging him to tell all of his Sesame Street pals to get vaccinated, too.

Watch the public service announcement above.

"Among children in the U.S. born between 1994 and 2013, routine vaccinations will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes," Murthy wrote in the blog post introducing the ad, calling vaccines "the most successful and cost-effective public health tools."

The PSA came hours after California health authorities declared the measles outbreak that began at Disneyland several months ago -- and reinvigorated a national debate about vaccinations -- over. The outbreak resulted in 147 diagnoses across the country, but no deaths.

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