Ontario says its weekly deliveries of the Pfizer-BioTech COVID-19 vaccine will be cut by as much as 80 per cent over the next month.
The province says that’s due to a production slowdown at the pharmaceutical company.
The government says shipments are expected to get back to normal levels in late February and early March.
In the province’s daily COVID-19 briefing, Premier Doug Ford called the development “troubling” and a “massive concern.”
He said the province is capable of administering more than 40,000 doses of the vaccine a day but “every day we are giving out less vaccines than we have the capacity to administer, is a day we lose,” he said.
Ford was visibly upset and added that he was angry with the turn of events, but stressed that he does not blame Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, with whom the province is working collaboratively.
“I’m just angry at the situation,” he said. “If I was in [the Prime Minister’s] shoes, I’m sure he is doing it, but I’d be on that phone call every single day, I’d be up that guy’s ying yang so far with a firecracker, he wouldn’t know what hit him. I would not stop until we get these vaccines.”
Ford also expressed frustration that other countries in the European Union, with smaller populations than Canada, are getting the vaccines.
“We’re part of the G7, we’re a major player in the world,” he said. “Other countries are getting them, why not Canada? That’s my question to Pfizer.”
Pointing out that there is a Pfizer factory in Michigan, Ford also appealed to incoming U.S. president Joe Biden for support with a direct message to him.
“Help out your neighbour. You want us all to get along, hunky dory, kumbaya? Help us out. I’m asking you for help,” he said.
Ontario has administered 226,000 doses of the vaccine so far.
The province’s goal of vaccinating residents and staff at long-term care (LTC) homes in the hotspots of Toronto, Peel, Windsor and York has been completed ahead of it’s scheduled date of Jan. 21.
Ford said that more than 40 per cent of all LTCs in Ontario have received the first dose of the vaccine.
More to come