Ontario leader blames Pfizer for delay in COVID-19 vaccine
Toronto: The leader of Canada's most populous province said Thursday he isn't buying the explanation given by Pfizer about why the company has deferred next week's coronavirus vaccine deliveries to Canada.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said is unacceptable that other countries are getting doses and Canada is not.
"This falls solely on Pfizer for letting us down," said Ford, who spoke to the chief executive of Pfizer's Canadian division Tuesday.
Pfizer announced a temporary reduction in deliveries last Friday so it could upscale its Puurs, Belgium, plant, which supplies all shots delivered outside the United States. Pfizer said any small step backward now in deliveries would result in a huge jump ahead later in the year.
"I don't buy any of that crap," Ford said. "Bottom line, get us vaccines. I don't care what you're building, you can throw any excuses you want at me, I don't buy it. We placed an order, we have a contract, meet the obligations of the contract because lives are in jeopardy if you continue screwing this up." Ford has been criticized for a slow rollout of the vaccine in Ontario amid a second wave of infections. He noted that they had to close a mass vaccination clinic in Toronto.
Keanna Ghazvini, a spokeswoman for Pfizer, declined to comment on Ford's specific remarks but said they listened to Ford's concerns earlier this week.
"We recognized that it has made it more difficult to smoothly advance the scale up of the immunization programme in Ontario and throughout Canada. We reiterated this is a short-term situation and our focus is on meeting quarterly commitments," Ghazvini said in a statement.
Governments in Europe also say the Pfizer delay is costing critical time during the early stages of the rollout to care homes and hospital personnel.