Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday January 21, 2021
Ford appeals to U.S. president-elect Biden for help securing more COVID-19 vaccines
Ontario’s premier appealed directly to U.S. president-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday for help securing more COVID-19 vaccines, a request that came as the province learned it would receive none of the doses expected next week.
Premier Doug Ford expressed frustration about a delivery slowdown of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot that means Ontario will receive thousands fewer doses over the next month.
The province said that could mean its goal of immunizing all long-term care residents in the province by Feb. 15 won’t be achieved.
“My American friends … you have a new president, no more excuses, we need your support” Ford said. “That’s a direct message to President Biden. Help out your neighbour. You want us all to get along, hunky-dory, kumbaya – help us.”
Canada’s doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are coming from a factory in Belgium that is being upgraded to ramp up production in the coming months.
Pfizer, however, also makes the COVID-19 vaccine at a facility in Michigan.
Ford appealed to Biden, who will be sworn in as president Wednesday, to share a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot from that plant.
“We’re the third largest trading partner (to the United States),” he said. “The least you could do in Kalamazoo where the Pfizer plant is, great relationship-building, give us a million vaccines.”
Ford also expressed frustration with Pfizer executives about the vaccine delays and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ramp up pressure on the company to deliver more of the shots to Canada.
“If I was in (Trudeau’s) shoes … I’d be on that phone call every single day. I’d be up that guy’s yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn’t know what hit him,” he said of Pfizer’s executives. “I would not stop until we get these vaccines.”
The federal government said shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to get back to normal levels in late February and early March.
Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just 171,093 doses this week and nothing the next week.
Trudeau said earlier Tuesday that his procurement minister, Anita Anand, has been on the phone with the company every day, a fact she confirmed in a briefing later. (Toronto Star)