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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The White House wanted to give early COVID vaccines to mall Santas in exchange for promotion

Illustration for article titled The White House wanted to give early COVID vaccines to mall Santas in exchange for promotion
Photo: Frederic J. Brown (Getty Images)

A deal between Santa Claus and the United States government has fallen through. A report published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday details the end of a plan that would have saved Christmas from the nasty green Grinch-fingers of the coronavirus pandemic by offering mall Santas across the country the opportunity to receive “early vaccine access ahead of the general public” in exchange for them “[promoting] the benefits of a COVID-19 vaccination.”


Because our brains are just sort of constantly sizzling like eggs on a hot griddle these days, we find nothing unusual with this plan, which would have cost “$250 million in taxpayer money” and had to be stopped by “a federal health agency.” No, having embraced the fact that we now live in a fantasy world where the most ridiculous ideas form reality, we think it’s pretty normal that the the Department Of Health And Human Services’ Michael Caputo was attempting to “defeat despair, inspire hope, and achieve national recovery” by prioritizing the health of Santa impersonators (and, we should mention, “those who perform as Mrs. Claus and elves”) over the rest of the country.

The chairman of the Fraternal Order Of Real Bearded Santas, Ric Erwin, said he was disappointed to hear that the plan had been stopped. The Journal transcribes parts of a call between Caputo and Erwin that sounds like a terrible scene from a mafia-themed holiday movie: “If you and your colleagues are not essential workers, I don’t know what is,” Caputo says to Erwin at one point. “Since you would be doing Santa a serious favor, Santa would definitely reciprocate,” Erwin says at another point in the call.

“I cannot wait to tell the president,” Caputo also says. “He’s going to love this.” Sadly, we don’t know what Donald Trump would have thought about ensuring that mall Santas were on the first boats evacuating the Titanic of 2020 America. Apparently, however, Trump “was never informed of the plan.” Now, with the Santa protection campaign stopped, Erwin says he and the nation’s Santas are trying to figure out ways to appear this Christmas regardless, maybe through “virtual visits, plexiglass, and photo opportunities with a Santa trapped in a COVID-safe snow globe.”

Read the entire Wall Street Journal report here. There’s no word yet on whether Santa’s betrayal was secretly influenced by notorious White House Scrooge Melania Trump, but we imagine it’s only a matter of time before a leak reveals she personally axed the plan as part of her War On Christmas Stuff.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.