It looks like Old Saint Nick may have to rely on the power of holiday cheer alone to protect himself from Covid-19 this year after a federal health agency canceled an advertising campaign providing Santa performers throughout the United States with a coronavirus vaccine before the general public. Funded by $250 million of taxpayer money, the campaign aimed to vaccinate Kris Kringle along with those portraying elves and even Mrs. Claus (#feminism) before the public, the Wall Street Journal reported. In turn, these seasonal performers would have promoted the benefits of a vaccine -- right along with the Christmas spirit all throughout the holiday season. Who doesn't love knowing that your tax money goes to vaccinating mall Santas from sea to shining sea, right?
The campaign, which aspired to "'defeat despair, inspire hope and achieve national recovery,'" according to a work statement received by the business publication, was the idea of Michael J. Caputo, an Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Caputo is currently on a 60-day medical leave after ranting about coronavirus-related conspiracies, on Facebook live back in September, implying that scientists are stalling advances in the fight against Covid-19 until after the election.
Despite coming from a conspiracy theorist, Santas across the nation seem to be generally less-than-thrilled about this change of plans. "This was our greatest hope for Christmas 2020, and now it looks like it won't happen," said Ric Erwin, who is the chairman of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas of the "extremely disappointing" decision. Considering that these now defunct-plans were finalized last month and that nearly 100 Santas had volunteered to be a part of the campaign, it seems reasonable why they're watching out, pouting, and crying -- with all but one in-person booking canceled for the 2020 holiday season, Santa may not be coming to town after all.
"They may have been fibbing a little bit to Santa," Erwin told the publication of their correspondence with the HHS. Moral of the story? Don't make promises you can't keep to Santa -- unless you really, really, really, really like coal.