The next NASCAR race weekend at Dover International Speedway is scheduled for May 14-16. But it‘s the race to get Delaware residents vaccinated against COVID-19 that kept the Speedway parking lot abuzz and full last week with federal and state personnel staff eager to serve and saturated with vaccine recipients grateful for the lifesaving shot. Together, it has created a recipe for goodwill, while generating an invitation for good karma.
“Dover International Speedway is pleased to have hosted this vaccination event,” said Mike Tatoian, Dover International Speedway president and CEO. “We know how much COVID-19 has impacted this community, and the nation as a whole, and it is crucial that we all do our part to boost our public health numbers.” We thank all of the personnel who managed and executed the drive-thru lines carefully, efficiently and in a very friendly manner throughout this process. The collaboration and coordination that took place between the various agencies is a model that should be emulated throughout our country — it was simply impressive!”
The location opened on Sunday, Feb. 21, as the first federally run vaccination site in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 3. In partnership with the state of Delaware, residents in need of second dosages of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID vaccine enjoyed the luxury of a drive-thru site.
Make no mistake, the selection of Dover International Speedway for this unprecedented mission had everything to do with need, speed, efficiency, and proximity. Centrally located, travel to the site could be completed in just over an hour from the furthest state locations. Yet, it‘s these very attributes that made working this mission personally satisfying for both FEMA personnel deployed to support and welcoming for those in need of the vaccine.
“We are extremely grateful for this partnership with FEMA, Delaware Emergency Management (DEMA), Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and Dover International Speedway enabling us to provide second doses to thousands of Delawareans and first doses to childcare providers,” said Delaware Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.
“I want to thank the commitment and professionalism all of those who have spent countless hours supporting Delaware this past week, in making the experience for our residents so positive. Even as more people are vaccinated in the coming months, we urge residents not to let your guards down. Keep masking up, staying distant, washing your hands, and getting tested on a regular basis.”
“FEMA is very proud of what we‘ve accomplished here in Dover,” said Tim Pheil, Region 3 Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer. “With over 200 personnel deployed to support this mission, we were able to vaccinate 15,840 individuals. This number is a positive step toward ending this pandemic and a direct reflection of the collaboration needed to achieve it.”
“Multiple sectors worked together to create a well-executed event,” said Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director A.J. Schall. “We extend our thanks to all the partners that assisted with this week-long event; a small step closer to beating COVID-19.”
Janice Barlow, Acting Regional Administrator for FEMA Region 3 stated, “It is the strong partnerships with our State counterparts and other federal partners, that elevated the success of the COVID-19 vaccination site in Delaware. Although FEMA trains and prepares daily for catastrophic events, manmade and natural disasters, we understand nothing takes the place of meaningful partnerships. I‘m grateful for the AmeriCorps volunteers who graciously gave of their time, our other federal partners, our state partners, and the community. Without their help, we could not have done this. Together, we will continue to overcome this pandemic, while working toward building a better future.”