On your mark, get set, inject! Cars welcome at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve drive-through vaccine clinic

In most other years, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve would be in the last days of preparation for the Canadian Grand Prix. But on Saturday, much slower cars were making their way onto the track and the prize at the end was a jab of COVID-19 vaccine, not a place on the podium.

The track has been converted into a drive-through vaccination clinic where the goal is to administer 1,000 doses per day over the course of three weekends. The campaign started last week with cyclists and this weekend, for cars.

Regional health authority spokesperson Annie Dufour said the goal is to attract a younger demographic to get their shots by making the experience more fun, with race cars on site, highlight videos and checkered flags.

“It reduces the stress, it reduces anxiety and it also brings the people we really want to see,” she said.

As an added incentive, the injections are done in the track's garages, which are normally off-limits.

In Montreal, less than half of people between 18 and 29 have had their first dose. The Health Ministry has announced several other measures to bring those numbers up, such as opening clinics for longer and having more walk-in options.

“Hopefully we can have the younger people,” said Canadian Grand Prix President Francois Dumontier. “We know the government has been saying it's tough to get those people. Hopefully, by having them at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, that will ease the process.”

So far, it seems to be working.

“We have 84 per cent of people who came in this weekend that are 40-years-old and younger,” said Dumontier. “Those are the targets we want to reach.” 

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