Dr. Anthony Fauci laid to rest any concerns that kids might have about Santa and COVID-19, announcing that he personally vaccinated the jolly old guy.
“I took a trip up there to the North Pole, I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself,” Fauci said Saturday on CNN, responding to multiple queries from worried children. “I measured his level of immunity, and he is good to go. He can come down the chimney. He can leave the presents, he can leave and you have nothing to worry about.”
But wait a minute. Didn’t Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, say only last month that Santa was immune to the novel coronavirus?
It’s true that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that even people who have had the virus, and thus may have natural immunity, get the vaccine. That’s because scientists don’t know how long immunity may last after someone has had COVID-19.
Even so, when Fauci discussed Santa’s immunity before, he made it sound like Kris Kringle’s “good innate immunity” was sufficient protection for a safe Christmas night. In that case, why give one of the first available vaccines to him, rather than someone more immediately vulnerable?
Here are some more questions raised by Santa’s preferential treatment:
Did Santa alone get vaccinated? Did his elves — who presumably work close together in their toy factory and whose immunity Fauci has not discussed — also receive doses?
Fauci, who had not yet received the vaccine as of this week, does not take public transportation in his home city of Washington, D.C. or socialize outside of his household. Why did he decide a trip to the North Pole was worth the risk, when surely other people qualified to administer a vaccine lived closer?
Reindeer are among the kinds of animals that could be susceptible to infection. Is there a safety plan for Dasher, Dancer and the rest?
What about the second dose of the vaccine?
Finally, it’s unclear whether a person vaccinated for the virus can still carry it and infect others. Do families really want to let this potential superspreader down their chimneys?