This year the mall Santas are scared. Santa’s helpers that take the kids’ gift request aren’t just afraid of kicking, crying, and hitting, because that is a part of the job. The mall Santas are afraid of something much smaller and malevolent: a virus.
Should Mall Santas get moved into the H1N1 Priority Group?
According to the Sacramento Bee the mall Santas are requesting to get the H1N1 vaccine early, even if they are not in the higher risk group. Just being in contact with so many children should automatically put Santa in a high risk group.
Many mall Santas fall outside of the high risk group to get the H1N1 vaccine. This means that they likely will not be able to get the vaccine until after Thanksgiving and long after they begin working for the children.
How many children do mall Santas come in contact with?
There are over 61 million children under the age of fourteen in the United States. That is an awful lot of runny noses. Mall Santas not only come in contact with the kids but they also come in contact with their parents. The kids may be healthy but if the parent isn’t feeling all that well they may still fight it and take their kids to see Santa.
What Can Santa do to Protect Himself from the H1N1 Virus?
Some mall Santas are resorting to wearing rubber gloves under their white ones but it is advised to forgo the white gloves which can harbor the H1N1 virus. Other Santas are making sure they wash their suit on a daily basis. Many Santas and their elves will have hand sanitizer at their disposal.
The Mall of America in Minnesota has been taking Santa appointments since 2007. They started this not because of any virus or swine flu, the mall has Santa visits by appointment because of the convenience. Kids can visit Santa without having to wait in long lines and parents do not have to put up with cranky children.
Taking appointments to see Santa may also reduce the risk of catching the swine flu while standing in line and being exposed to all those other people.
What can Parents do to Protect Santa from the H1N1 Virus?
First and foremost, if you or your child is sick then stay home. I know that Christmas is special and only comes once a year but being considerate and not spreading a virus is more important.
Have your child write a letter to Santa instead of going to visit him. If you go to santashotline.com you can schedule a personal phone call from Santa himself. You may not get the perfect photo op but you may save someone from getting very sick.
Of course you can always reschedule your trip to see Santa for when everyone is healthy. This will help protect both your family and Santa.