INDIANAPOLIS — Yes, we heard it, too.
Phones across Central Indiana buzzed just after 10 a.m. Tuesday when a public safety alert was issued with information about the COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic taking place this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
David Hosick, director of public affairs for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said the Indiana State Department of Health requested the alert. The Federal Emergency Management Agency then approved it, and the Emergency Operations Center issued the alert through its system.
"This system was used several times for the Gary site and was extremely successful in getting people to the site," Hosick said.
Tuesday's alert was limited to people living in the Indiana Department Homeland Security's District 5, which includes Marion, Hamilton, Boone, Hendricks, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby and Hancock counties. Other states have also used the alert process during the pandemic, Hosick said.
ISDH media relations coordinator Megan Wade-Taxter said the alert system is one of several tools the department uses to promote awareness of COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Other tactics include radio ads, billboards, bus wraps, commercials and social media advertising.
The state health department also promotes vaccine clinics around the state through direct text messaging to specific zip codes.
"Our goal continues to be to ensure that Hoosiers are aware that vaccine is available to them at no cost and at a convenient time and location and to remove barriers to getting vaccinated," Wade-Taxter said.
The COVID-19 vaccination clinic continues at IMS from Thursday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. each day. People should enter at Gate 2 and walk-in patients are welcome. The Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available.
On Saturday, the state health department asked all vaccination clinics with open appointments to begin accepting walk-in patients.
As of Tuesday, a total of 4,068,119 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Indiana. The number includes 2,302,877 first doses and 1,765,242 individuals who have received a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are fully vaccinated.