‘People are dying’: Ford, Tory reach out to Pfizer amid ‘concerning’ vaccine shortage

By Lucas Casaletto

Premier Doug Ford and Mayor John Tory have both been in contact with Pfizer to talk about the slowdown in vaccine delivery to Canada.

Ford says the drugmaker’s delays are standing in the way of more people in this province being protected against COVID-19 and the situation is serious.

“And this falls solely on Pfizer for letting us down and this goes right down every day we lose it’s a day we’ve lost in the war and it’s a death,” the Premier said.

“At the end of the day, the longer we take to get these vaccines… people are dying.”

Ford again pleading with newly-inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden to share some of the vaccines from the Pfizer plant in Michigan.

“I asked him, we need some doses and how is all these other countries around the world getting them, and Canada isn’t getting them,” Ford continued.

“Down in the U.S. as well, down in Kalamazoo. I’ll drive down there myself and we’ll pick them up if we have to but it’s absolutely critical to Pfizer steps up to the plate and not leaves us behind the eight ball.”

The delay in vaccine production led to the province announcing the country will not receive any shipments of Pfizer’s treatment next week.

Tory tells Breakfast Television no promises were made during the call.

“It’s understandable in a certain way that if there’s got to be a cutback and how much we get because of production issues, changing around a production line which I gather they’re doing, but it doesn’t seem right or fair that Canada gets nothing for a week,” the mayor said.

“That sets back a lot of the efforts that we’re making as a country to, for example, do vaccinations at long term care.”

RELATED: Ontario doctors warning of serious, potentially ‘catostrophic’ drug shortage

Two vaccination programs in the City have now been put on hold because of the vaccine shortage.

The immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) was forced to stop operating earlier this week after just two days of inoculating front-line health care workers.

Toronto has also paused a pilot for people experiencing homelessness in Toronto’s shelters.

A spokesperson for Ford confirmed he also spoke to Pfizer Canada on Tuesday, saying he wanted to know why Canada’s vaccine delivery is lagging compared to other countries.

The federal government said it was expecting a 75 percent reduction in deliveries due to capacity upgrades at Pfizer’s European plant.

Ford says he simply doesn’t believe that to be true.

“I don’t buy any of that crap. Bottom line is, get us the [vaccines],” Ford added.

“Simple as that. I don’t care what you’re building. You can throw every excuse at me. I don’t buy it. Simple.”

Only 171,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive over the next two weeks, instead of the nearly 418,000 previously expected.

“I think it’s one of those things where I think the message is certainly getting out there that hopefully, they would reconsider what they’re doing with Canada, whether they will or not,” Tory said.

The City confirmed recently that immunization clinics were held at 87 of Toronto’s long-term care homes.

More than 10,322 residents and 2,893 staff and essential caregivers have now been vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine, officials said.

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