22 Sep 2021

Bacon buttie Covid-19 vaccination initiative hailed a success

5:40 pm on 22 September 2021

An initiative to get people vaccinated against Covid-19 in New Plymouth today using the lure of a free bacon buttie is being hailed a success after 130 people took the bait.

Ashlee Kemp of Chiwi Catering serves a customer.

Ashlee Kemp of Chiwi Catering serves a customer. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The city's vaccination centre threw out the appointment book and put on breakfast for anyone getting a jab between 7am and 9am.

A steady stream of tradies, officer workers and families with teenaged children in tow made their way into the Powderham Street vaccination clinic, turning a blind eye to about a dozen or so placard waving anti-vaccination protesters as they did so.

Ashlee Kemp and Ricardo Hormazabal of Chiwi Catering were serving up the kai.

"So we've got a bacon and egg buttie. We've got some nice buns, some bacon and some eggs and we're using a bit of aioli and some tomato sauce as well."

Justine Howe was on hand with the Etta Coffee and Cake caravan and she had been busy.

"It's been fantastic actually we've made a lot of coffees this morning and hopefully we'll make a lot more in the next 45 minutes or so."

The bacon buttie idea had come off really well, she said.

"I think it's great. I think a lot of the younger ones have used the bacon buttie as an incentive to get vaccinated."

A Chiwi bacon buttie.

A Chiwi bacon buttie. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Taranaki vaccination programme head Bevan Clayton-Smith said the bacon butties had done their job.

"It's been excellent, there's been a steady stream of people coming in from 7am onwards ... in fact some people came in before that and that was okay.

"And a lot of people just walking trying to change existing bookings and we've been happy to accommodate that as well."

He reckoned something else was at play though.

"An important thing has also been the timing some people are on the way to work and it's on the way for some people from work to home - shift-workers - so that's probably something we have to explore to make it [getting a vaccination] more accessible."

Aluminium joiner Jared Angelsey said "Oh it's good. It's first thing in the morning and then I can get on with the rest of my work during the day".

The coffee and buttie were just a bonus, he said.

Industrial chemical cleaner Rod Provyn was on the same page.

"I thought I'd pop in because it saves waiting until October when I was booked in for."

The early start was also a motivating factor for Provyn who was working on a shutdown at the Balance Agri-nutrients site in South Taranaki.

"The bacon buttie was a bonus, it was just to get it done and over with and I'm only going to be an hour late for work."

New Plymouth High School pupil Sophie Wilkinson, 15, was one of the handful of students who came along with family to take advantage of the clinic.

The early start was great for her, too, but she was eyeing up a bacon buttie.

"Yeah, it was a good opportunity to get vaccinated in the morning. It's easier. And getting vaccinated is kinda important because you can save lives and, yeah, a free breakfast."

Coastal Concrete's Nathan Beard could not believe his luck - the weather gods meant his boss had sent him along to get a jab.

"It's bad weather today so we're not pouring concrete so we could make the most of it. And this has got us all down here at once. We all had bookings already but this was easier."

At RNZ's insistence he tucked into his bacon buttie for reviewing purposes.

"Beautiful, beautiful. Yeah, thank you. This is awesome!"