Covid-19: US offered Santas early access to coronavirus vaccine

Covid-19: US offered Santas early access to coronavirus vaccine

- A top Trump administration official working for the Department of Health and Human Services has offered Christmas workers a Covid-19 deal

- The official reportedly told Santa Claus, Mrs Claus and elf performers could get early access to a coronavirus vaccine as part of a campaign funded by $250m in taxpayer money

- However, a federal health agency pulled the plug on the campaign

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The United States is the hardest-hit Covid-19 country in the world and they are desperately awaiting a vaccine.

However, according to reports, a Department of Health and Human Services official, who is part of the Trump administration, offered Santa Claus performers, including the bearded Christmas figure Father Christmas, Mrs Claus and elves access to a Covid-19 vaccine should they promote it.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal would have been part of a $250 million campaign funded by taxpayers' money.

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Covid-19: US offered Santas early access to coronavirus vaccine
Santa Claus during the Selfridges 2020 Christmas Shop "Once upon a Christmas" photocall in London, England. Photo: Eamonn M. McCormack / Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

BBC added that the plans to garner celebrity endorsements for the vaccine have since been scrapped, leaving the Santa performers with empty promises.

This was a disappointing turn of events for Ric Erwin, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas. He said:

"This was our greatest hope for Christmas 2020, and now it looks like it won't happen."

The original plan to include Santa performers in the campaign was conceived by former health department assistant secretary Michael Caputo. He allegedly told Erwin that a vaccine would be available by mid-November and that it would be given to the frontline workers by Thanksgiving.

Americans have since reacted to the news and many were not happy with Caputo's plan to use taxpayer money.

Twitter user, @BelizeCheryl, commented:

"Sooooooo, Santa was going to tell the kids what HE (Santa) wants for Christmas? 'Tell mom and dad Santa wants them to take you to get the Covid vaccine?' "

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Another tweep, @loosecannon887, wrote:

"I can't wait until the country stops being run by a reality TV show host."

Judith Sanders, @nazani14, added:

"I'd go for this deal. Sit around in my red suit in the empty malls and department stores promoting the vaccine to nobody. Sweet."

The world has been desperate searching for a Covid-19 vaccine since its outbreak in China last year December. However, developing and poor countries fear that they will be last on the list to receive the vaccine should one become available.

China has since signed a deal to make sure that Covid-19 vaccines are also handed out to developing countries. COVAX made a vow to get vaccines to nations that are poorer as soon as they are created.

The agreement gives China a big role in the battle against the pandemic. This will be done by sharing vaccines with countries that are far less developed and disadvantaged. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says that China joined COVAX for this reason.

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In other news, earlier reported billionaire businessman Lee Kun-hee died at the age of 78 on Sunday, Samsung Electronics Co. confirmed in a statement. It has not been revealed what caused Kun-hee's death but the businessman has been battling with his health since 2014 after a heart attack left him hospitalised.

He was also treated for lung cancer in the late 1990s. Kun-hee will be laid to rest during a private funeral.

Kun-hee was South Korea's richest person and he made his fortunate, which is an estimated $20.7 billion, by transforming Samsung Electronics Co., which started out as a copycat South Korean appliance maker.

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