Drivers hit full throttle for vaccine at speedway

By Tim Mastro
Posted 10/16/21

DOVER — Some revved their engines, some pulled down the windows and hollered, others tried to take their time, filming the scene on their cell phones.

In the end, they were all …

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Drivers hit full throttle for vaccine at speedway

Posted

DOVER — Some revved their engines, some pulled down the windows and hollered, others tried to take their time, filming the scene on their cell phones.

In the end, they were all vaccinated.

Approximately 350 individuals received their COVID-19 vaccines at Dover International Speedway Saturday during the Delaware Division of Public Health’s “Race to End COVID” event. Participants were able to drive their own cars around the Monster Mile for two laps behind the speedway’s pace car.

The event wraps up today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Spots are still available and walk-ins are welcome, although DPH recommends pre-registering to reserve a driving slot at www.racetoendcovid.org/event/dover-international-speedway.

Driving the track is only for those being vaccinated. The entrance to the speedway for the event is via the Leipsic Road entrance.

All three types of COVID-19 vaccines — Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson — are being offered for first or second doses.
The additional doses recommended for some groups, such as Pfizer booster shots or third doses for immunocompromised individuals are also being administered.

More than 200 individuals received their booster shots or third doses at the speedway on Saturday, DPH said.

“What we’re really happy to see is that a lot of folks 65 or older have gotten that booster or third shot,” DPH director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. “That’s what the science tells us. The seniors are seeing the quickest decline in the immune protection from the vaccine. So we’re really happy so many seniors have stepped up and we hope all seniors step up over the next few weeks. We’re going to start seeing additional doses coming out for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. It’s not something where people need to madly rush out to the pharmacy or their provider but we really hope people make a plan for that booster or additional shot.”

Vaccines were administered by members of the Delaware National Guard with DPH staff providing support.

The event was the second of its kind in the country. Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama hosted a similar vaccine clinic in May, also allowing vaccinated individuals to drive two laps.

Participants who wish to drive the track alone must be at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license, car registration in their name and vehicle insurance. Participants who are 16 or 17 years old with a valid driver’s license must have a parent or legal guardian in the vehicle to sign a minor release form.

Of Delaware’s total population, 61.3% have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

An incentives like driving the Monster Mile is one of the ways the state is trying to increase that number.

“We’re always challenging our team to be creative and to think of how we can get people to get over their hesitancy,” said Gov. John Carney. “This is a fun way to do it.”

Gov. Carney rode in the pace car for one of the 25-car groups, before walking around the vaccination site and thanking participants for attending.

“It was totally cool,” he said. “What it really made me want to do, which I was a little hesitant to do at first, was to go faster.”

Free COVID-19 testing is also being offered at the speedway today.