We hope it was a metaphor.
“Nothing is more important than getting these vaccines. If I was in his shoes … I’d be up that [Pfizer] guy’s ying yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn’t know what hit him,” Ford said.
“I would be outside that guy’s house every time he moved.”
I’d be up that [Pfizer] guy’s ying yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn’t know what hit him.Premier of Ontario Doug Ford
The premier was at Queen’s Park to announce a bit of good news: Ontario completed its first phase of vaccinations two days early. But shortly before his press conference, news broke that Canada will not receive any shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine next week.
“It’s troubling, it’s a massive concern,” Ford said.
Pfizer says shipments of its vaccine will be delayed while it adjusts production facilities in Belgium to produce more doses overall. But the premier said he was frustrated that other regions, like Europe, will see their shipments return to normal next week while Canada’s gets cut.
“I’m not angry at the prime minister … I’m just angry at the situation that other countries are getting it,” he said.
Ford and his ministers did celebrate one “tremendously important milestone” Tuesday.
Ontario has administered 224,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations to the highest-risk populations.
Willing residents, staff and essential caregivers at long-term care and high-risk retirement homes have all received their first doses in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex. All long-term care homes in Ottawa, Durham and the Simcoe Muskoka region have also completed their first vaccination doses.
The province had said Thursday was its deadline to complete these vaccinations in the four areas with the highest levels of community spread — Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex.
Earlier Tuesday, officials told reporters that even with Pfizer’s delay, the province was on track to finish giving out first doses at all long-term care homes in Ontario by Feb. 15. That was before news broke that Canada’s shipment next week would be zero.
Outbreaks still rage in long-term care
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the province’s long-term care homes, and outbreaks continue to rage in 40 per cent of all homes. Fifty-nine per cent of the 5,479 Ontarians who’ve died of COVID-19 lived in long-term care.
Ford and his minister of long-term care, Merrilee Fullerton, have been harshly criticized by families, advocates and opposition politicians for their handling of the pandemic in these facilities.
The provincial government is even named as a defendant in a $500-million lawsuit filed by people who say their family members died “due to avoidable negligence.”
When it comes to Ford’s handling of the pandemic, long-term care is the biggest area of disappointment for Ontarians. Seventy-two per cent of voters say the government did a poor job protecting seniors in those facilities, according to a poll released by Abacus Data Tuesday.
Sixty-nine per cent also said Ford’s government has done a bad job reducing the overall number of people who get the virus.
Fullerton said the general public can protect long-term care residents by following the stay-at-home order.
“The fact is that the rise of community spread during the second wave is posing a serious threat to our long-term care homes. The single most important thing we can all do right now to protect our most vulnerable is to stay at home as much as possible.”