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Chick-fil-A Manager Leans On Drive-Thru Experience To Clear Vaccine Traffic Jam

As the saying goes, vaccines don't stop pandemics; vaccinations do. Well, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have both delivered safe, effective vaccines in record time, and now the race is on to get as many people vaccinated as possible, as quickly as possible. It's a monumental task even in the wealthy, historically well organized U.S.

One of the keys will be finding strengths we didn't even realize we had, and it's something that was recently displayed in small town America.

Officials in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, had high hopes for a drive-thru vaccination event at a local church.

Authorities were offering the vaccine to those over 70 years of age and caregivers of chronically ill and special needs children. Needless to say, it was a popular idea as a way of vaccinating many people without forcing them to come into contact with a lot of other people.

Unfortunately, a glitch in the computerized registration system threatened to throw the whole day off before it even started.

Aims to keep traffic low around the church didn't hold up well because of that glitch.

Soon enough, wait times ballooned to over an hour, which simply wasn't going to work well with a crowd of older adults and children with disabilities.

So, Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie called on a natural for help with the drive-thru: the manager of the local Chick-fil-A, Jerry Walkowiak.

Walkowiak happily agreed to help, and it didn't take him long to figure out how to improve things at the vaccination site.

"At Chick-Fil-A, we’re about being the most caring company in the world and when Mayor Haynie asked us to come over, we took a look at what was their drive-thru system," Walkowiak told WCBD.

"We saw a little hiccup in their drive-thru system and we needed some more people, so we gathered some of the wonderful rotary volunteers and went down there and just was able to expedite the registration part."

With volunteers from the Rotary Club helping with the registrations and Walkowiak organizing, the situation quickly smoothed out.

The hour-long wait reduced to about 15 minutes, and by the end of the day, more than 1,000 people from the area were able to get vaccinated.

All of those who received their vaccinations that day will have to come back for their second dose on February 12, and when they do, they'll see Walkowiak there as well, as Haynie invited him back to help out again, to which he said "absolutely."

Afterwards, Haynie spoke about holding future vaccination events as well.

"It's a cold dreary day out here, but this is what light at the end of this long, dark COVID tunnel looks like. The demand is here, the collaboration is here, the leadership is here, and I can speak for the Town of Mount Pleasant and our 93,000 plus citizens when I say we are ready for this vaccine, we are ready to turn the corner in this long hard fight against this virus, and we are ready to get life back to normal and this is how we will do it," he said at a press conference following the event.

"We will come back again on a cold rainy day and do parking lot medicine if we have to and I appreciate everybody that has helped bring this about today. Hopefully we can use our existing medical infrastructure to deliver this wider and faster."

h/t: WCBD