St. Luke’s Children’s makes Santa an honorary employee through Christmas

Santa Claus prepares to receive his COVID-19 vaccine this week at the Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion. To enable St. Nick to receive the vaccine under distribution protocols, St. Luke’s Health System declared him an honorary employee. 

Even with the vaccine given to Santa, families are reminded to practice social distancing to prevent Santa from spreading the virus between visits this Christmas.

BOISE – This is an important news story for children only. Parents and grown-ups; look the other way and cover your ears. There is GOOD news to report about Santa Claus when it comes to protecting him from COVID-19. St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital is working hard this year to ensure Santa is extra safe and does not catch or spread the coronavirus.

St. Luke’s Children’s received a heartfelt request from a concerned child who has been worried this holiday season for the health and safety of Santa. A six-year-old boy from Boise asked if St. Luke’s could please make a special exception and allow Santa to be one of the first to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine just in time for Christmas, so he would be protected when delivering gifts.

“What if he catches the coronavirus,” he asked in a video sent to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital leaders. “Sometimes people leave germs behind on their plates during these times right now, so can you please let Santa have a vaccine?”

It just so happens that his mom (the author of this story) had just the right connections. She works at St. Luke’s and knows Santa from his previous visits to Children’s Hospital. She put in this special request and both Santa and St. Luke’s agreed this was a very good idea.

To make it happen, Kenny Bramwell, St. Luke’s System Medical Director for Children’s Hospital, declared Santa an honorary Children’s employee through Christmas. He even presented him with his very own hospital badge during a brief ceremony this week at the Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion.

“We’ve heard from many children that Santa can’t visit all these homes safely,” Bramwell said. “We need Santa to be safe… so we’re doing that so he can visit the children inside our hospital and help them have a better Christmas.” 

Knowing how important it is to be protected, Santa courageously took off his red coat and rolled up his sleeve to not only protect himself from the coronavirus, but to help protect kids and their families.

“Good job, Santa,” St. Luke’s Children’s nurse Kadie Randel told Santa. “You were very brave today. Thank you for doing this for us and all the kids.”

After his stop at St. Luke’s, Santa surprised the boy at school to share the good news.

“I just got back from St. Luke’s,” he told him. “So, I’ll be protected at Christmas. Thank you for being concerned about me,” Santa told him.

“He got it,” the boy shouted as he jumped up and down in a mix of delight and relief.

Just because Santa is immunized now, it is important to remember he still needs to be careful to protect himself and others from the virus. He wanted to be sure to remind all the kids who are worried about him that he is taking all the property safety precautions.

“I’m wearing gloves, and I’m wearing my mask. My glasses are protecting my eyes, so we’re trying the best we can do and I’m hoping by getting the vaccine that will protect us even more.”

Families around Idaho and the world can do their part to help protect Santa on Christmas Eve by leaving out hand sanitizer next to the milk and cookies along with a fresh face mask for Santa.

“Make sure you help your family keep your house clean. You want to make sure your germs are wiped up regularly, we want you to stay with your nuclear family as much as possible and when you do need to go out make sure that you wear your mask and stay socially distanced from other people,” Bramwell added.

Santa added one more message for good boys and girls who might be tempted to stay up late and try to catch a glimpse of Santa: “Just a reminder, kids. Stay in your bed to keep Santa safe so we can do social distancing. Merry Christmas!”

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