Covid-19 jabs for those waiting in fast food queues being weighed up

Source: 1 NEWS

People may soon be able to have their vaccine while they wait in fast food queues. 

By Tessa Parker

Speaking on RNZ’s First Up on Thursday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertston confirmed the Government is looking into vaccinating people while they wait for their takeaways. 

“We just want to reach out to where people are….. Given under level 3 we know lots of Aucklanders will be excited about getting their takeaway fix, so could we use that possibility?” 

On Twitter, Auckland Councillor Josephine Barltley confirmed the Government has approached Restaurant Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr and Taco Bell. 

On the first day of Alert Level 3 in Auckland, long lines were seen at KFC and Mcdonalds across the region, with some patrons even camping out to make sure they got a taste as soon as possible. 

Robertson says, similarly to the vaccination bus 'Shot Bro’, it’s about going to where the people are. 

“We’re working with different providers and to be perfectly honest.. Whatever it takes to get people vaccinated.” 

However, logistical challenges currently stand in the way of a Pfizer, combo deal. 

“Part of the exploration of these options is getting the logistics right and that people can wait 20 minutes after vaccination to make sure everything is okay before they get on with their day,” a spokesperson for Robertson’s office said. 

It comes as Health Coalition Aotearoa accuses fast-food chains of ‘Covid-washing’. 

Research by the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health has found 27 per cent of fast-food advertising on social media references Covid-19, using the pandemic to promote its brand. 

"It preys on loneliness, anxiety and the desire to help our communities during the lockdown.

"The encouragement of overconsumption of unhealthy products for comfort and support is part of this strategy,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr Sarah Gerritsen. 

Astrid Koornneef, Group Manager of Covid-19 vaccination operations says the Ministry of Health is currently exploring all “opportunities to vaccinate people where they are present in numbers in the community – including at the many fast-food businesses offering drive-through options.” 

While Robertson says he wants to do whatever it takes to get people vaccinated, Health Coalition Aotearoa is questioning whether fast food should be involved with that. 

"It’s time the Government took a long hard look at the data and decided whether they still want their Covid public health controls to be equated with K-fry."