So How Big is NASCAR?

The article starts out in a light mood:

NASCAR fans might seem rabid, but are they actually contagious?

The House Homeland Security Committee planned a fact-finding trip about public health preparedness at mass gatherings and decided to conduct the research at two of the nation's most heavily attended sporting events, NASCAR's Bank of America 500 event this weekend (At Lowe's MotorSpeedway near Charlotte, NC) and the UAW-Ford 500 (At Talladega, in Talladega, Alabama) last weekend.

Though NASCAR fans may not be rabid, staff who organized the trips advised the NASCAR-bound aides to get a range of vaccines before attending -- hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and influenza. (What you saying folks?)

Rep. Robin Hayes, a Republican from Concord, took umbrage when he heard about it. "I have never heard of immunizations for domestic travel, and as the representative for Concord, N.C., I feel compelled to ask why the heck the committee feels that immunizations are needed to travel to my hometown," Hayes said in an Oct. 5 letter

The aides headed out to this observation were asked to explore public health issues at events involving large gatherings, such as how law enforcement and medical personnel would respond to an act of terrorism or other emergency. (Personally, I think a NASCAR fan in the staff probably came up with this idea so he can travel on our dime!!)

They explain the immunization requests with: "Since committee staff members are visiting hospital and other health-care facilities available at or near these venues, including areas where groups of people are detained before being transferred to other off-site facilities, I believe that the recommendation (not requirement) that our congressional staff receive these same immunizations was sound," Thompson said in a letter responding to Hayes issued Wednesday.

See the whole article at