WASHINGTON — Santa Claus is ready for Christmas, thanks to Dr. Anthony Fauci and his friends.
Dr. Fauci, the country's top infectious-disease expert, said during a CNN “Sesame Street ABC’s of COVID-19 Town Hall” on Saturday that children have nothing to worry about this holiday season. Santa will be able to travel on Christmas Eve.
Children and Elmo asked Fauci how Santa Claus would be able to deliver presents amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“How did Santa get the vaccine, and is it safe for him to go into the house?” one child asked.
“What if he can’t go to anyone’s house or near his reindeer?” another asked.
Fauci replied with a smile, "Well, I have to say I took care of that for you because I was worried you all would be upset."
“So what I did a little while ago, I took a trip up there to the North Pole," he said. "I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself. 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. Santa Claus is good to go.”
Back in November, Fauci even reassured children that Santa is immune to the respiratory virus.
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency rollout of the second COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health.
The move marks the world’s first authorization for Moderna’s shots. The vaccine is very similar to one from Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech that’s now being dispensed to millions of health care workers and nursing home residents as the biggest vaccination drive in U.S. history starts to ramp up.
During the Town Hall on CNN, Fauci did not specify which vaccine Santa received.
The nation is scrambling to expand vaccinations as rapidly as Moderna and Pfizer can churn out doses. Moderna's is for people 18 and older, Pfizer's starts at age 16.
Even with additional candidates in the pipeline, there won’t be enough for the general population until spring, and shots will be rationed in the meantime. And while health workers are enthusiastically embracing vaccination, authorities worry the public may need more reassurance to ensure more people get in line when it’s their turn.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The United States has more than 17 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As of Saturday, the U.S. had more than 315,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 76 million confirmed cases with more than 1.6 million deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.