No jab, no access to Indianapolis Motor Speedway paddock

Paddock access at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is limited to vaccinated individuals

As the USA slowly gets to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and returns to some semblance of normality, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is doing its bit to help speed that process up.

Fans have slowly begun returning to sporting events across the United States, though there remain restrictions in place that split supporters from the inner sanctum of the IndyCar Series.

Attendees at this year’s Indianapolis 500 have been required to have been vaccinated should they wish to enter the pit lane paddock.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a hub for the vaccination rollout with the Indiana Department of Health offering free jabs for the past month.

Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines have been made available, with fans able to get a jab on their way to their seat.

All drivers and crew working at the event are required to have been vaccinated.

Anyone entering the paddock has to prove they’ve been vaccinated and are given a silver sticker to attach to their pass (pictured below) or ticket as evidence.

An IndyCar Series pass with the COVID-19 vaccination sticker

Speaking on his Balls and Bumpers podcast, Indianapolis 500 debutant Scott McLaughlin spoke about the vaccine rollout.

“The cases are trending downwards, I think summer is helping,” said McLaughlin.

“The vaccinations are going off. Over 50 percent of the population has got a vaccination now, which is pretty cool.

“There’s a full mass vaccination [at Indianapolis Motor Speedway]. You can either walk up or you can drive up and you don’t even have to come to the race.

“It’s part of your ticket. You get a vaccination. Just a general punter. I know Karly’s family (McLaughlin’s wife) may potentially get one, or anyone from the drivers’ families.

“I’m done. I’ve got my two Pfizers.”

Earlier this week Indianapolis 500 organisers confirmed the speedway had reached its 40 percent capacity for the event of 135,000 spectators.

Spectators are required to wear face coverings and temperature checks will be administered upon public gate entry.

Spectators will be spaced in the grandstands and social distancing throughout the venue will be enforced.

Frequent cleaning and sanitation of the venue will take place, with hand sanitiser and washing stations readily available to all.

Dr Virginia Caine, director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department, said the speedway was playing a critical role in the vaccine rollout.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to help us return to the activities we love and have missed over the last year,” she said.

“Every day, more members of our community receive the lifesaving protection it offers thanks in part to community partners like Roger Penske and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Our vaccination rates, combined with the outdoor nature of the event, make it possible for fans to return to these hallowed grounds for the Indy 500 this year.

“We are grateful to the IMS team for their collaboration throughout this planning process and appreciate their work to ensure vaccines reach our neighbours.”

Since January, the United States of America has dropped its seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases from 260,000 to 22,000.

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