Santa gets COVID-19 vaccine; N.C. curfew not an issue as NORAD prepares to track the jolly old elf

Santa Claus reviews his flight plan for his Dec. 25 trek across the globe in the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command Current Operations Center. [NORAD photo]

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. 

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.”

And Governor Roy Cooper confirmed with OBX Today’s Sam Walker during a press conference Tuesday in Raleigh that Kris Kringle won’t have any issues with North Carolina’s current 10 p.m. curfew.

Wednesday morning, Governor Cooper shared a video message confirming that exemption:

The Governor’s Office also shared a little more information:

Thanks to elves’ handiwork and creativity, they were able to make an extra-large mask to fit over Santa’s beard. The elves know the importance of keeping their village in the North Pole and our communities safe! In the workshop they washed their hands often, spread out six feet apart and wore masks. Their motto this year was, “Stay on task and wear your mask!”

Santa may take the cookies and milk to-go this year so he doesn’t have to remove his mask, which means he will have extra treats to bring back to Mrs. Claus and the elves!

Santa knows that there is hope during the holidays this year with the vaccine arriving in our state and is grateful for everyone continuing to practice their 3 Ws – wear a mask, wash your hands and wait six feet apart.

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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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at [email protected]