Indianapolis Motor Speedway Vaccination Clinic

Melissa Easterday, BS

When the Indiana University Health (IUH) Vaccine Clinics began to open across our system, I was eager to volunteer. Working remotely since the start of the pandemic, I felt my participation in this effort was one way I could give back to my peers who have been working tirelessly day in and day out on the front lines. I wanted to do my part to help keep my community safe.

As the vaccination efforts progressed, it was announced that IUH would hold vaccine clinics at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). I jumped at this opportunity. What a unique experience that would be! The goal was to have individuals from near and far drive to the IMS and receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (J&J) and speed off on their way – one and done! Little did we all know the usage of the J&J shot would come to a screeching halt. My shift at the IMS fell on the very next day.

IUH and the State of Indiana Department of Health handled the situation seamlessly and a two-dose vaccine was provided instead at the IMS. Arriving for my first shift as the sun was rising, I pulled into my parking spot behind the Pagoda. The National Guard began arriving one after the other. It was an amazing feeling and site to see all who were joining in this massive effort.

My assigned spot for the day was in Gasoline Alley. The National Guard were stationed at the gates directing the vehicles to pull into a bay. This is where a registered nurse and I worked together to check individuals in, administer their first shot and then schedule them for their second dose. Once the process was complete, individuals were directed out of Gasoline Alley and onto the track. Yes, you read that correctly, they got to drive on the track at the IMS! Many of these people are born and raised Hoosiers who have longed for an opportunity to do such a thing. Seeing the smiles on everyone's faces when I told them, "OK, now follow the signs and make a left onto the track!", was truly an awesome thing to witness.

IUH vaccinated over 90,000 individuals at the IMS. Though I sincerely enjoyed my time volunteering at each of the vaccination clinics I was assigned, there was just something especially unique about the IMS. From consoling the random puppy in the back seat who was nervous their owner was receiving the shot, to the elderly gentleman chauffeured by his son who I couldn't get checked in fast enough, to the soon to be freshman at Purdue University trying to do "his part," people came in carloads. It was amazing to be a part of the joy, relief and gratitude experienced by all involved. Of all the visits I've made to the IMS over the years, this visit will be my most memorable by far.



Melissa Easterday

This article was authored by Melissa Easterday, BS, coordinator of quality reporting and analytics at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, IN.

This content was developed independently from the content developed for This content was not reviewed by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for medical accuracy and the content is provided on an "as is" basis. Inclusion on does not constitute a guarantee or endorsement by the ACC and ACC makes no warranty that the content is accurate, complete or error-free. The content is not a substitute for personalized medical advice and is not intended to be used as the sole basis for making individualized medical or health-related decisions. Statements or opinions expressed in this content reflect the views of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of ACC.