A group called the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, founded in 1994 by 10 guys dressed as Santa making a commercial for a catalog company, is demanding that its members be given the H1N1 swine flu shot, even though aging, bearded Santas are not on the priority list.
(The image is taken from the group's home page.)
The demand actually makes sense. If Santa gets sick, he can pass the disease to good little boys and girls before he even knows it. And this would make for a very bad Christmas.
Still, the request is being met with full-on snark. "Yes, Virginia, there is a swine flu-carrying Santa Claus."
This is actually good news. After weeks of anxiety over the H1N1 flu, most of the recent news is good. Infection rates seem to be stabilizing and vaccine is getting out there. People are willing to laugh again.
There has been a renewed panic over a strain that resists Tamiflu, the most common anti-viral, but this is starting in hospitals and so may be contained. The rate of infection is seen as cresting.
So don't worry too much this Christmas. And if you do know where there's an extra shot of vaccine, go to the mall, get on Santa's lap, and whisper in his ear.
You're sure to get on the nice list.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com