That’s when Jerry Walkowiak, the manager of a nearby Chick-fil-A, stepped in to save the day.
“When I heard about it, I called Jerry and asked if he would come help us out,” Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie told CNN. “After he looked it over, he said, ‘There’s your problem right there. It’s backed up because you have one person checking people in.’ Then he showed us how to do it right.”
With the help of a few additional volunteers, Walkowiak transformed the messy traffic jam into a smooth operation, reducing the hours-long wait to just 15 minutes.
More than 1,000 people received the vaccine that day, Haynie said. When everyone returns for their second dose on February 12, Walkowiak will be back to help manage the drive-thru.
“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.”
While the US still has a long way to go before the pandemic is over, Haynie hopes his town’s experience will encourage others to get vaccinated and help with vaccine efforts.
“Jerry got a phone call and dropped everything because he knows getting this vaccine out is a game changer,” Haynie said. “This is what the light at the end of the long Covid tunnel looks like.”