The New Zealand government is talking to KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell about offering people COVID-19 vaccines when they buy meals

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The New Zealand government is talking to KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell about offering people COVID-19 vaccines when they buy meals
A KFC drive-thru in Manukau, New Zealand. Phil Walter/Getty Images
  • New Zealand is talking to fast food brands about offering people vaccinations with their meals.
  • The government is speaking with KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, an Auckland councillor said.
  • Auckland ended a harsh lockdown on Tuesday, and the country wants to avoid future lockdowns.

The New Zealand government is in talks with fast food brands like KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut about offering customers COVID-19 vaccines with their meals.

Auckland, the country's largest city, eased a harsh five-week lockdown on Tuesday, allowing fast food restaurants to restart delivery services and socially-distanced sales. Last month the entire country went into a full national lockdown over one COVID-19 case.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is keen to boost the country's vaccination rate, and the government is considering partnering with fast food brands to make that happen.

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On Wednesday, Auckland Councillor Josephine Bartley tweeted that Restaurant Brands, the company behind KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr., and Taco Bell in New Zealand, was speaking to the government about a partnership.

"We want to make sure we're going to where people are," Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told Radio New Zealand on Thursday.

"We know that a lot of Aucklanders are going to be really excited about getting their takeaway fix and could we use that possibility?"

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Robertson said, however, that there could be issues getting people to wait for 20 minutes after their vaccination due to the time pressures of drive-thru outlets.

Ardern said Thursday that she hoped to drop strict lockdown measures for good and wanted a 90% vaccination rate to do so. As of Thursday, 40% of people were fully vaccinated and 75% have had one dose, according to government statistics.

Demand for fast food has been high in Auckland since lockdown restrictions were reintroduced last month, prompting some people to try and get their fill by any means necessary.

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On Sunday, New Zealand police officers arrested two men who they said attempted to enter Auckland with a car "full" of smuggled KFC chicken, french fries, and ten tubs of coleslaw. Police said they also found $70,000 in cash inside the car.

Earlier in September, police charged a 20-year-old man who they said snuck out of Auckland to buy McDonald's.

The lines for some Auckland branches of McDonald's, KFC, and Taco Bell started hours before their reopening, Stuff.co.nz reported. One McDonald's drive-thru described seeing some 40 cars already waiting when it opened, and a KFC customer slept in his car, the outlet reported.

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