Ontario's first major COVID-19 vaccine site will stop administering shots immediately
TORONTO -- A pilot COVID-19 immunization site in Toronto that was meant to be a “playbook for mass vaccination clinics” will stop administering shots after just two days in operation due to a Canada-wide shortage in doses.
The proof-of-concept clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre opened on Monday morning with the goal of administering about 250 doses a day. Officials have said the facility is meant to act as a blueprint for how the shots can be administered to the masses later this year once priority groups such as long-term care residents, health-care workers and seniors receive the vaccine.
However, on Monday afternoon, Ontario officials directed the clinic to pause vaccinations on Jan. 22 because of a shortage of vaccine supply in the province.
That deadline was moved up to Tuesday evening about 24 hours later, according to Toronto officials.
In a news release, officials said they are now being directed to stop vaccinations at the end of the day, meaning that anyone who booked an appointment to get a shot on Wednesday will no longer be able to get one.
It is not clear if the clinic will reopen next week.
The federal government has said that Canada will not be receiving any shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses next week as the company deals with a production issue in Belgium.
According to the province, Ontario’s weekly deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be cut by as much as 80 per cent over the next month as a result.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he was deeply troubled by the production delays at Pfizer and the lack of doses being sent to Canada.
"It makes me very very angry, and I want to make something clear, I'm not angry at the prime minister or deputy prime minister. We've been working collaboratively, I'm just angry at the situation that other countries are getting it," Ford said.
“We have to be on those guys [at Pfizer] like a blanket. I would be outside that guy’s house. Every time he moves, I would be saying, ‘where’s our vaccines.'"
Toronto officials have said that while the immunization clinic is closed, they will continue planning for a city-wide immunization clinic roll out and “will continue to work with the province to determine next steps once vaccine supply is re-established.”
The site had been expected to run for at least six weeks.