Public Health

Santa Wants Swine Flu Vaccine For Christmas

Should Santa Claus be allowed to cut the line for swine flu vaccine?

David Oelerich stands by santa suits he rents. i i

hide captionDavid Oelerich rents Santa suits in New Hampshire. Santas this year want more than just a suit, they want a swine flu vaccine.

Jim Cole/AP
David Oelerich stands by santa suits he rents.

David Oelerich rents Santa suits in New Hampshire. Santas this year want more than just a suit, they want a swine flu vaccine.

Jim Cole/AP

Santa America, a group of 200 santas who visit sick children year-round, say they should. "Santa" Ernest Berger, president of Santa America, wants his cheery colleagues considered for the vaccine in the same way as schoolteachers and other caregivers are.

He tells NPR's Melissa Block on Thursday's All Things Considered that Santas should be considered seriously for the vaccine because of their close contact with large groups of children.

Even without the vaccine, his group is taking precautions against getting and spreading the flu, even changing some time-honored Santa visit rituals. For starters, his Santas won't be wearing possibly germ-harboring gloves, and they'll be packing Purell.

Santa America's Santas will show kids how to keep their hands clean, too. Berger explains:

Besides being around a lot of kids, Santas have another case to make for vaccine.The telltale belly on most Santas mean they're likely in another high-risk flu group as well. Berger told the Associated Press that he estimates about two-thirds of American Santas are obese, and one-third are morbidly obese.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: