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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Santa gets COVID-19 vaccine; NORAD prepares to track the jolly old elf

NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is busy preparing for its 65th annual tradition of tracking Santa’s journey delivering gifts around the world.

And for those who might be worried the pandemic would stop Santa’s trek, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, says Santa has received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I took care of that for you, because I was worried that you’d all be upset,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told kids at a virtual Sesame Street-CNN Town Hall over the weekend. “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.”

As for NORAD, the team tracking Santa does face some challenges this year due to the pandemic, but the mission continues this Christmas Eve, just as it has every year since 1955.

Unlike past years, this year’s call center will only have a few volunteers  answering the NORAD Tracks Santa toll-free number, 1-877-Hi-NORAD. But callers who cannot reach one of these volunteers will receive a recorded update on Santa’s current location.

“While NORAD understands the call center is an important tradition for many families around the world, we reduce the health risks posed by attempting to conduct a large indoor, in-person, call center during the pandemic,” the agency said in a news release. “NORAD is committed to tracking Santa while keeping our military, their families, and our dedicated call center volunteers safe.”

Santa trackers can visit or use new mobile apps to get up-to-the-minute Santa statistics. The apps are available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. Fans can also track Santa with a variety of other NORAD Tracks Santa partners, to include OnStar and Amazon Alexa.

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