Federal officials say Ontario, along with all other provinces, was informed of AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries in late March and are confused by the province’s comments regarding a delay.
On Monday, the Office of the Premier released a statement saying Doug Ford was notified to “be prepared” for delays to the two shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine that were expected from the federal government later this month and next month.
A spokesperson from the province further clarified Tuesday that the 396,000 AstraZeneca doses that were anticipated the week of April 19 and the 195,000 anticipated the first week of May are not likely to be delivered until end of May. They added that this information was not communicated previously.
However, the province’s own vaccine update last week made no mention of the expected AstraZeneca shipments and only notes “further allocation information pending.”
A federal procurement official tells CityNews they believe Ford’s office is likely referring to a draft delivery schedule that was provided to provinces over a month ago for deliveries of the Serum Institute of India shot. They note that the schedule was always a draft and never confirmed.
In a statement, a spokesperson from Health Minister Patty Hajdu’s office says:
“2.3 million doses of AstraZeneca and AstraZeneca/CoviShield have been delivered to Canada already, including 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca/CoviShield. The remaining 1.5 million doses are expected via the Serum Institute of India this quarter. A delivery schedule has not yet been finalized for these doses, as reported in a technical briefing on April 1. The Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Operations Centre is in daily contact with provinces and territories and this information was confirmed with them in writing on March 26.”
Also Monday, Ford’s office said he was reaching out directly to international allies to source more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Ford has reportedly already spoken with the Consulate General of the United States and Canada’s ambassador to Denmark who are passing the request upwards to their administrations.
Ontario officials have also reached out to the ambassador to Norway and Ford is set to speak with the EU ambassador to Canada and the High Commissioner of India later Monday to “ask for any extra AstraZeneca vaccines.”
With files from Tina Yazdani and Cormac Mac Sweeny