The New Zealand government has announced plans to administer COVID-19 shots at fast food establishments with potential partners including KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr., and Taco Bell. Since the country wants to vaccinate 90% of its population, and has so far only managed to inoculate 65% of its 4.9 million citizens, it intends to take advantage of the long lines at takeaway places. “We just want to reach out to where people are,” said the deputy prime minister Grant Robertson.
The idea first came from Auckland Councillor Josephine Bartley who saw the opportunity at long fast food queues as the city moved to alert level 3. “I’m not encouraging them to eat junk food, but the people are already there and waiting in lines, so why not make the most of it,” Bartley said.
Last nights queue pic.twitter.com/mJJBnFlKFD
— Jo Bartley (@jobartleynz) September 22, 2021
Geraldine Oldham, chief branding officer at Restaurant Brands, the company which owns KFC, confirmed that the government had reached out to them to discuss the concept. One of the biggest logistical challenges would be ensuring people comply with the 20-minute observation period after getting the jab, while people are trying to get their fast food fixings, especially those using drive-through.
New Zealanders seem to have a deep love of fast food, with the small nation having one of the highest per-capita distribution of KFC and McDonald’s outlets in the world. Just a few days ago when Auckland was still under level 4 lockdown and restaurants were shuttered, police caught “smugglers” who were trying to cross the Auckland border with a boot full of KFC chicken, french fries, 10 tubs of coleslaw, and a number of empty ounce bags.
Given that Malaysia has the seventh-highest number of KFC stores in the world, at 718 so far, perhaps the government could implement this initiative here? According to COVIDNOW, while more than 81% of adults in Malaysia have been fully vaccinated, the adolescent vaccination programme has only given the first dose to 19% of teens so far. Make a day of it and take the whole family out for fried chicken, with a side offering of your preferred vaccine.