The public has responded to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s challenge to come up with a name for the Mr. Whippy-style mobile vaccination buses that will be deployed on Thursday.
Thing has compiled the top 10 names suggested by users of its Neighbourly social media platform. The public can vote for their preferred name in the poll below.
Suggested names include Covid Cadillac, Chariots of Pfizer, Shot Bro, Vax to the Future and Mr Pricky.
The program aims to provide Covid-19 jabs to people who have had difficulty accessing them, and will launch with six buses before expanding to 12 over the coming weeks.
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“I don’t have a bus [name] ideas, but I’ll leave it in the hands of the New Zealand creatives, ”Ardern said at his press conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
However, she ruled out “Busy McBusface” on the spot.
On Wednesday evening, Ardern launched its own poll on Facebook, where it posted four names that had been proposed: Jabba Waka, Shot Bro, Jabbin Wagon and Vaxi Taxi.
“Tell me which one you prefer,” she said. “You may even see a bus with a new name come out tomorrow.”
The buses will operate as mobile pop-up vehicles under alert levels 4 and 3, much like the Mr Whippy ice cream vans.
The vaccines will be delivered outside the buses to ensure compliance with social distancing rules.
National leader Judith Collins applauded the idea in an interview on The morning show Wednesday morning.
“We don’t want to call it the Covid bus, do we? Because it sounds really bad. I think maybe it’s the ‘Save a Child Bus’, ”she said.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday he had no bus names to offer.
Bus Travel NZ director Brent Early, whose company provides buses and drivers, said he was proud to be a part of the initiative.
In particular, he was proud to be “able to provide a service to communities who cannot easily access the vax sites themselves,” he said.
“We are based in South Auckland and many of our employees live here so they can support these communities and others.
“We’re in the travel business, so helping to increase the immunization rate so that life can get back to normal and some travel can resume is a good choice for us.”