Drive-thru vaccines aren’t a new thing — providers have made the flu shot available this way for years. But the demand for the coronavirus vaccine is unprecedented, and when a technical glitch caused a traffic gridlock at one drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site in South Carolina last week, some expert assistance was required.
According to Fox 13 News, Mount Pleasant mayor Will Haynie learned that people were waiting up to an hour at the Seacoast Church vaccination site. Haynie wasted no time in calling Chick-fil-A manager Jerry Walkowiak, who saved the day.
“I called [Walkowiak] on my way over and he actually got there before I did,” Haynie told Fox Television Stations on Monday. “He was standing there. He was moving people along.”
Haynie shared a video of Walkowiak “donating his professional drive thru experience” on Twitter.
“When you need help, call the pros,” he wrote.
Chic Fil A manager Jerry Walkowiak donating his professional drive thru experience to help our vaccination program in Mt Pleasant today. When you need help, call the pros. pic.twitter.com/63RvcVR8KJ
— Will Haynie (@willhaynie) January 22, 2021
In the video, Walkowiak is seen standing in the rain, wearing a face mask and holding an umbrella over his head, as he directs a car forward in the line of slow-moving vehicles.
“Do you have your paperwork yet? He’s gonna help you right there,” he is heard saying in the clip.
Walkowiak used his drive-thru expertise to speed things up for those seeking the vaccine. The wait time to receive the shot was around an hour before Walkowiak arrived. The Chik-fil-A manager was able to reduce the wait time to 15 minutes.
“Chick-Fil-A to the rescue!” the mayor declared, according to Fox 13 News.
Chick-fil-A, which first opened in Georgia in 1946, is known for its fast-paced drive-thrus, and QSR Magazine has repeatedly ranked the chain’s drive-thru service as being the one with the highest customer satisfaction.
In South Carolina, people who are 70 and over and medical personnel are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As of Sunday, the state’s health department said 277,258 doses (out of 542,750 total doses received) had been administered, Fox 13 reported.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 21,843,033 Americans have received at least one vaccination dose for COVID-19. In their COVID-19 vaccine safety update, the CDC said initial safety data shows no major concerns.