Ontario asks Biden for a million vaccines amid shortage

World
Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Ontario, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Canada won’t be getting any Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccines next week and 50% fewer than expected over the next month, officials said Tuesday, prompting the leader of Canada’s most populous province to ask U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to share a million doses from Pfizer’s Michigan plant.

Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s logistical rollout and distribution of vaccines, called it a major reduction, but said Pfizer is still expected to meet its contractual obligation to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March.

U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer confirmed last week it would temporarily reduce deliveries to Europe and Canada of its COVID-19 vaccine while it upgrades production capacity at its plant in Puurs, Belgium. Pfizer’s Belgian plant supplies all shots delivered outside the U.S. Fortin said other countries have been impacted this week and that Canada will be impacted next week.

“Pfizer assured me and Canada of equitable treatment,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when he spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week, she told him that media have been asking her why Germany isn’t doing as well as Canada on vaccines.

Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, said he’s angry. He asked Biden to help Canada out, noting there’s a Pfizer plant in Michigan.

“Our American friends, help us out,” Ford said. “You have a new president, no more excuses. Help us out.”

Ford notes Ontario is a large trading partner to the U.S.

“I can’t help but ask the president,” Ford said. “The least thing you can do … give us a million vaccines. You have a hundred million down there. Give your great neighbor which stands shoulder to shoulder with you a million vaccines to get us over the hump. That’s what we would love to see from the president.”

A mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, temporarily closed due to the shortage.

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