Cars for good: Hospital’s Mobile COVID-19 Teams Gets Minivans, Volunteer Drivers from Toronto’s Down

As COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue to ramp up across the country, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) received a welcome surprise when Downtown AutoGroup offered three Toyota minivans from its Downtown Toyota dealership – complete with volunteer drivers  – to support the hospital’s mobile vaccination and testing program over the next six months.

WCH is supporting Toronto communities by administering vaccines at several sites across Toronto, and by conducting COVID-19 testing in schools, shelters, and congregate living sites throughout the city.

The Downtown AutoGroup (DAG) and Downtown Toyota coordinated the donation with Toyota Canada’s Cars for Good program which supports local charities across the country with free short-term vehicle loans and related delivery or shuttle services.

“When we heard that Women’s College Hospital’s vaccination teams were relying on taxis and car-sharing services to move around the city to administer health care for our communities, friends and peers, we realized we could help them,” said Shahin Alizadeh, President, Downtown AutoGroup and Downtown Toyota.

Downtown Toyota will provide WCH with the three Toyota Sienna hybrid minivans for six months.

But the vehicles themselves are only half the story. Downtown Toyota is also supplying drivers – retired employees who have already been vaccinated – to chauffeur the mobile vaccination teams and will completely sanitize the vehicles between shifts.

“Responding to COVID-19 must be a community effort,” said Dr. Danielle Martin, Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Executive, Women’s College Hospital. “Our corporate neighbours at Downtown AutoGroup, Downtown Toyota and Toyota Canada have stepped up, providing our mobile vaccination units with full-service support, including drivers, so our teams can immunize those most at risk.”

The minivans will be used to help vaccinate community members in Toronto who may have trouble travelling to large vaccination centres due to mobility or transportation issues.

“These three Sienna Hybrids have been dedicated for use by the Women’s College Hospital team. They can be the ‘home away from home’ for our frontline health care workers,” said Shahin. “In addition to making their work more efficient and saving costs, we hope that having direct access to a designated vehicle with space to accommodate their supplies will help reduce stress for the teams providing crucial service for our community.”

Women’s College Hospital Foundation extends its deepest gratitude to Downtown Autogroup, Downtown Toyota and Toyota Canada, and the generous volunteers who are going above and beyond to make this initiative possible. Thank you!