New Zealanders looking for a fast food solution could soon be asked if they want a vaccine with their meal. The country aims to vaccinate at least 90% of its population and the government is currently in talks with fast food giant KFC to help achieve that goal.
“We just want to reach the people where the people are,” Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told RNZ on Thursday morning.
New Zealanders love fast food. It has one of the highest per capita distributions from KFC and McDonald’s outlets in the world. When the Auckland lockdown was lifted on Tuesday night, people scrambled to line up for a meal, and just a day before, two gang associates were caught trying to smuggle a full tanker. of KFC and $ 100,000 in cash in Auckland, despite strict border controls.
“Considering that at level 3 we know that a lot of Aucklanders will be very excited to get their take-out solution and could we use that possibility? Robertson said.
Making sure people wait 20 minutes after their vaccine dose could be difficult if they are also waiting for food at a drive-thru, said Robertson, adding that these types of logistics will require a bit of work before the plan. cannot go ahead.
He said the government was looking at options, including looking at other places people frequently venture out, not just fast food outlets.
On Monday, Auckland advisor Jo Bartley suggested the idea to Restaurant Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in New Zealand. She posted on social media Wednesday that Restaurant Brands had informed her that the government had reached out “to discuss the potential of this concept.”
The government is using “all the tools in the toolbox” to vaccinate the population, which, according to it, will be the best chance for the country to resume a life without confinement.
Last week it began its “Mr. Whippy” traveling vaccine bus rollout.
Robertson was reluctant to offer incentives to get people out for a vaccine, saying international examples have had mixed effects, and it raises ethical questions for people already vaccinated. But he said individual companies offer sandwiches or coffees to encourage people to take their doses, which he supports.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday that in the past 18 months New Zealand had one of the lowest hospitalization and death rates in the world and more unrestricted days than almost any other country.
Ardern urged the country to lead the way on vaccination rates.
“Now there is an opportunity for all of us to seize to be one of the most vaccinated countries in the world… it comes down to each of us. We have the vaccine supply we need; we have the workforce ready to do the job, ”she said.
So far, 72% of the eligible population in New Zealand has been vaccinated with a single dose. Just over 38% of the eligible population has been fully immunized.
Modeling from the Te Pūnaha Matatini research center shows that achieving 90% vaccination and above, along with wearing a mask, contact tracing and rapid testing, is the only way to minimize ongoing strict lockdowns. It shows that if only 80% of the population is vaccinated, a community epidemic of the virus could still lead to 7,000 deaths and 60,000 hospitalizations.
New Zealand on Thursday reported 15 new cases of coronavirus in the community, three of which have yet to be linked to existing cases in the current outbreak. There are now 1,123 cases in the outbreak, and 861 of them have now recovered. Fifteen people are hospitalized and 3 in intensive care.