A collaborative project recently began delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to more than 100,000 homebound Southern Californians.
The idea came about when the Los Angeles Fire Department and city officials realized there were thousands of people in low-income, underserved areas that didn’t have the ability to get to a vaccination location after the rollout began.
“At first you think, ‘Well, they just need a ride from point A to point B to get a vaccine,’” says Soojie Kuroda, in the Vehicle Marketing department at Toyota’s Los Angeles Regional Office. “But these are people who can’t even get into a car or don’t have a support system in place, so this program helps bring vaccines to them in their own homes.”
Kuroda says the biggest issue fire officials faced was not having enough vehicles.
“At the end of the day, they were having to rent cars,” she says. “This is how critical the need was.”
So critical, in fact, that the LA Region wanted to help.
“So, in comes a conversation about becoming a Mobility company,” she says. “We felt that there was a big need to take vaccines to people who needed them most.”
Kuroda says the project was a team effort involving help from many departments at Toyota Motor North America.
“It became a great collaboration of what One Toyota means,” she says. “You have no idea how much effort the company is focusing on to make this work. It’s fantastic.”
Kuroda says she was pleasantly surprised when other groups jumped on board so quickly. When she reached out to VMaC (Toyota’s Vehicle Marketing and Communications department), they jumped at the chance to help donate cars for the cause.
The Social Innovation team, which oversees Toyota’s charitable giving, also pitched in. The division has been supporting education campaigns, providing resources, and partnering with nonprofit organizations in their efforts.
Twenty hybrid vehicles, including hybrid Siennas, were sent to the Los Angeles Fire Department to use for delivery of the vaccines. Los Angeles fire officials are going door to door and plan to administer about 250 to 300 vaccines a day. The vehicles will also be used in connection with pop-up clinics in recreation and community centers to continue the outreach.
READY TO ROLL
Toyota provided 20 hybrid vehicles, including RAV4s and Siennas, to help LAFD deliver COVID vaccines across the Los Angeles area.