Daily US Times: The US authorities have canceled plans to offer Santa Claus performers early access to a Covid-19 vaccine in exchange for their help in promoting it publicly.
Those who perform as Mrs Claus and elves would also have been eligible for early access.
The collaboration was part of a $250m government campaign to garner celebrity endorsements of coronavirus vaccinations once they are approved.
But health authorities now confirmed the campaign plan had been scrapped.
Ric Erwin, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, described the news as “extremely disappointing.”
He told the Wall Street Journal: “This was our greatest hope for Christmas 2020, and now it looks like it won’t happen.” The newspaper first reported the story.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has since confirmed the existence of the Santa Claus plan.
The idea was initially conceived by a former assistant secretary at the department named Michael Caputo.
Last month, Mr Caputo announced that he would be going on leave, shortly after posting a video to Facebook where he accused government scientists of engaging in “sedition” against President Donald Trump.
In August, Mr Caputo told Mr Erwin that a vaccine would be approved by mid-November and distributed to frontline workers by Thanksgiving, which falls on the last Thursday of November, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a phone call recording released by the Wall Street Journal, Mr Caputo can be heard saying: “If you and your colleagues are not essential workers, I don’t know what is.”
Mr Erwin responds: “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
“Since you would be doing Santa a serious favour, Santa would definitely reciprocate,” he also said on the call.