The New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) is using children's hope in Santa Claus as a new avenue to encourage them to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The commercial, which was shared on Twitter by the NJ DOH, features a young boy writing a letter to Santa requesting a COVID vaccine, rather than toys or other fun gifts.
"Dear Santa, I don't want games. I don't want toys. Just get me the COVID vaccine!" the child actor says in the video.
A narrator remarks, "This holiday season, there's no better gift than peace of mind. Get vaccinated today."
The commercial was blasted by an opinion columnist at Shore News Network, a news outlet the covers New Jersey along with a number of other states, who described the ad as evidence that liberal Democrats running the state had "completely lost their minds."
"First, let’s start with the left not even liking Christmas and wanting to cancel the entire deal. But, now since it can be used to push the vaccine agenda of the Murphy administration, the NJ DOH is paying, with taxpayer money, to produce and run commercials of a boy asking Santa for the COVID-19 vaccine instead of games and toys," columnist Robert Walker wrote.
"So instead of getting your child a PS5 for Christmas, go run out and get them a COVID-19 vaccine, it will brighten their Christmas spirit," he added, calling the ad "disturbing."