INDIANAPOLIS — Walk-ins are now welcome at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's mass vaccination clinic.
The on-site clinic is once again offering the Johnson & Johnson single dose COVID-19 vaccine after a brief pause. The vaccine was paused after being tied to rare blood clots in six women. Patients can now also opt for the Pfizer vaccine at the location if they prefer. It's an option that many women, in particular, are taking advantage of.
“Because of that, especially with the ladies who are coming out we are seeing more Pfizer uptake with them which is perfectly fine,” Mary Kay Foster with IU Health’s Special Pathogens Unit said.
However, some patients still are still opting to come to the speedway specifically because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is once again being offered.
Paul Pogorzelski drove from Crown Point for his Monday afternoon appointment.
He said he doesn’t like shots and was happy the single dose option was available again. While he personally had no concern over Johnson & Johnson, his wife felt differently, since the blood clots were found in women her age.
“My wife was concerned for herself so she’s going to get Moderna or Pfizer,” Pogorzelski said.
Vaccination rates fell at IMS over the weekend. Foster said they dropped about 55% of what they were expecting on Sunday. No-shows tend to increase over the weekend because people get busy, but Foster is concerned that some people have lost trust.
“With that pause on Johnson & Johnson I think we’ve seen more people like ‘You know what, maybe I just want to make sure everything is going to be fine and then I’ll come out,'" Foster said.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses are in the garage bays with volunteers. If a patient chooses to get Pfizer, the vaccine is hand delivered from storage so that the two different vaccine types remain separate. Patients can also schedule their 2nd dose appointments before leaving the garage.
Volunteers said the process with Pfizer takes a bit longer, but feel it is worth it for people to get a vaccine that they are comfortable with.
“I think the J & J thing threw people off a little. But the ones that come through are really happy to get their vaccine,” John Hosteter, R.N. at IU Health volunteering at the clinic said.
Even the Indianapolis Colts' mascot, Blue, stopped by on Monday to get his vaccine. The hope is he will help show Hoosiers that everyone needs to step up and get their shot.
The Indiana State Department of Health is also encouraging other clinics to offer walk-in availability. To learn where walk-in appointments are available visit ourshot.in.gov or call 211.