Ontario told to prepare for delays to 2 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shipments, premier’s office says

The Ontario government has been told to prepare for delays to two upcoming AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shipments, Premier Doug Ford’s office said Monday.

A statement from Ford’s office said that in addition to delays to Moderna shipments that were previously announced, the premier was told to prepare for delays to AstraZeneca shipments later this month and next.

An official said the province had been expecting to receive around 389,000 doses this week and 194,500 during the week of May 3, but both shipments may be delayed until the end of May.

Read more: What you need to know about getting an AstraZeneca vaccine in Ontario

The federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine allocation forecast doesn’t show figures for upcoming AstraZeneca shipments. Global News has reached out to Health Canada and Procurement Canada for comment.

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The statement comes as the province announced it is expanding eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 40 and older, effective Tuesday.

“As we look to expand our rollout of AstraZeneca to younger age groups and into more pharmacies, any delays to vaccine shipments would be devastating for Ontario right now as we battle the third wave of this pandemic,” the statement said.

Read more: Doug Ford contacting consulates to try and get more COVID vaccines for Ontario, spokesperson says

“While we seek to confirm this information, the premier is redoubling his efforts to secure more vaccines by directly reaching out to our international allies for any available supply.”

On Sunday, the premier’s office announced that he was reaching out to consulates in a bid to get more vaccines from international allies — something that is normally the responsibility of the federal government.

“As part of that outreach, he has already spoken with Canada’s ambassador to Denmark and the Consulate General of the United States, both of whom are advancing our request to purchase any additional supply of AstraZeneca to their respective administrations,” the statement continued.

“Our officials have already reached out to Norway’s ambassador, and the premier will be speaking to the EU ambassador to Canada as well as the High Commissioner of India later today to ask for any extra AstraZeneca vaccines.”

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