As part of Alabama's efforts to inoculate their state against COVID-19, ordinary motorists are set to get a chance to take to the storied high banks of Talladega Superspeedway. The Alabama Department of Public Health has announced a COVID-19 testing and vaccination event set for May 15. People 16 years or older who choose to either be tested and/or vaccinated will be able to drive their car or truck around Talladega Superspeedway.
Drivers will take two laps around the biggest and fastest track in NASCAR, running behind a pace car at "highway speed."
The COVID-19 vaccine will be administered by members of the Alabama National Guard, and all who receive the vaccine will be observed for 15 minutes for any side effects or allergic reactions. Testing and vaccination will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Vaccines for COVID-19 are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death," the Department of Public Health said in a statement. "No registration is needed for vaccination. ADPH's goal is to get COVID-19 vaccine to Alabamians as speedily as possible."
Vaccinations at Talladega tie into a widespread push to try and get more Alabama citizens to take COVID-19 vaccines. According to a report by Sarah Whites-Koditschek of AL.com, just 24% of the adult population in Alabama is fully vaccinated.
Alabama state officials have maintained that a return to normal life is contingent on vaccination rates.
"That's how the economy recovers, that's how people's jobs are more secure, that's how hospitals are protected, that's how our family members live in nursing homes are protected," Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris told AL.com.
The COVID testing and vaccination event at Talladega comes only weeks after the first of two NASCAR Cup Series races at the track this season. The Cup Series ran the annual GEICO 500 at Talladega on April 25, which was won by Brad Keselowski.