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Pink Cars getting seniors vaccinated coast to coast
June 17, 2021
Liz Braun

Latest coup for Pink Cars founder and volunteer extraordinaire Shanta Sundarason?

She and her colleagues have booked 1,000 vaccine appointments over two days this week for seniors in York Region.

Just add it to the list of the thousands of other vaccine appointments she’s organized for older Canadians.

Like Vaccine Hunters Canada and others who refused to sit by and watch as Ontario bungled the vaccine rollout, Sundarason got involved helping seniors in her community with Pink Cars.

Pink Cars books vaccine appointments and provides transportation there and back.

Sundarason jumped into the COVID effort right at the beginning, first rounding up hundreds of volunteers to sew thousands of pieces of crucial Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)  for medical personnel.

She then started booking vaccine appointments for seniors who had no computer or who couldn’t navigate the online system -- some of those seniors being the same people who were sewing PPE with her.

When transportation to vaccine appointments also proved tough, she founded Pink Cars with 60 volunteer drivers in York Region.

You can ask Sundarason how this all gets done, but she says she’s not even sure herself. It’s a 16-month whirlwind.

The why is easier: “Because we felt we had to. We just want to help.”

“We” is her army of volunteers -- retired people, people who were laid off during COVID, people with free time in the day -- and they have resolved not to stop, “Until we get that last senior vaccinated. So many are still calling. Everyone wants that second jab.

“You have to bring the vaccines to the people,” Sundarason said.

As we speak, Sundarason is pleasantly surprised to get a donation of $50 from Sault Ste. Marie.

“Right! I’d actually forgotten we helped some seniors there. This has been sent for gas money, for our drivers,” she said.

Sault Ste. Marie?

“We’ve been helping throughout Canada, getting seniors their first shot,” she said.

The wider campaign started about a month ago when there was a lull in the action between first and second vaccinations.

“We started to get calls from further afield -- Hamilton, Niagara -- and we decided to help anybody over 70 who hadn’t had their first shot, Sundarason said.

She aligned Pink Cars with another organization that handles volunteer transportation across the country.

That’s allowed her to help book seniors coast to coast for their first jab. In most cases, that first vaccination generates an automatic appointment for the second one.

“Our first priority now is to get any Canadian senior their first shot. Our second priority is to get York Region seniors their second shot,” she said.

The country isn’t going to open up until enough people are vaccinated, added Sundarason. “And we have to start living again.”

No computer? Call Pink Cars at 905-479-8880.