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'I Vaccinated Santa Claus,' Fauci Tells Kids

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Bill Sandeen, dressed as Santa Claus, waits for the opening of a Santa drive-through selfie station in Las Vegas on Dec. 10. The real Santa was vaccinated by Dr. Anthony Fauci at the North Pole.
John Locher, AP

Bill Sandeen, dressed as Santa Claus, waits for the opening of a Santa drive-through selfie station in Las Vegas on Dec. 10. The real Santa was vaccinated by Dr. Anthony Fauci at the North Pole.

Kids want to know: Is it safe for Santa to stop by this year?

"Will Santa still be able to visit me in coronavirus's season?" asked 6-year-old Paxton from Geneva, Ill., during a CNN-Sesame Street town hall Saturday. "What if he can't go to anyone's house, or near his reindeer?"

Luckily for children everywhere, the nation's top infectious disease specialist is on the case. "I took care of that for you, because I was worried that you'd all be upset," Dr. Anthony Fauci responded. "So what I did a little while ago: I took a trip up there to the North Pole, I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself.

"I measured his level of immunity, and he is good to go," Fauci added. "He can come down the chimney, he can leave the presents, he can leave, and you have nothing to worry about."

During the town hall, Fauci responded to other concerns from children, including when they'll be able to hug their families again (right now, if it's someone who lives with you), and whether the vaccine hurts (it's just a pinch).

Kids might still want to see Santa in person at the mall this year. But it's probably not a good idea this time, health experts told NPR.

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Many Santas have instead set up virtual or drive-by options.

The pandemic has been tough for kids. There's evidence that depression and anxiety have increased as kids have been spending time at home, away from friends.

To celebrate Christmas, experts are encouraging some variations from the normal celebrations this year: cookie drop-offs instead of in-home group baking, looking at Christmas lights from the car to avoid crowds, outdoor family caroling instead of singing inside.

And it's probably safe to do outdoor activities — sledding, ice skating, playing in the snow — provided you wear a mask.

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