Ho, ho, ho? It looks like the North Pole, the elves and all the Santas of the world will have to keep living like the rest of us and social distance and avoid crowds. Apparently, in a Wall Street Journal report just released, former HHS assistant secretary Michael Caputo was hatching a plan to save Christmas — or rather, save Christmas for mall Santas. The plan was a $250 million gambit that would ask Santa Claus performers to promote getting vaccinated for COVID-19 in exchange for early access to the vaccine — before the general public could access the potentially life-saving vaccination. But it sounds like the plan — which has since been thrown out and subsequently leaked to the press by Rick Erwin, the head of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, is dead on arrival.
Michael Caputo, the brains behind the plan, has been on a 60-day medical leave after he posted a video on Facebook accusing government scientists of “sedition” against President Trump. But in August of 2020, Caputo was hard at work convincing Rick Erwin, the head of the Santas, that a vaccine would be ready to go by mid-November and would be distributed to frontline workers on Thanksgiving. In a series of phone calls that Rick Erwin recorded, Caputo explained his plan to give Santas vaccines before everyone else in a bid to promote them. Obviously, the vaccine won’t be ready until mid-April.
“If you and your colleagues are not essential workers, I don’t know what is,” he says, to which Erwin literally responds, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” He also said that he couldn’t wait to tell the President about his plan. “He’s going to love this,” he said on another call.
Well, apparently Caputo was going rogue. The plan, which Caputo had apparently intended to be finalized in mid-September, has apparently been scrapped and HHS Secretary Alex Azar claims he had no idea that a plan to give Mall Santas the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine was even being discussed. The advertising plan — which extended well beyond Santa Clauses being given COVID immunity — would have had prominent Americans extolling the benefits of vaccines. But the entire campaign is apparently now under investigation.