Coronavirus: Toronto’s mayor speaks to Pfizer about improving COVID-19 vaccine production

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Doug Ford lashes out at Pfizer for vaccine delay: “Where are our vaccines?”' Coronavirus: Doug Ford lashes out at Pfizer for vaccine delay: “Where are our vaccines?”
WATCH ABOVE: During a COVID-19 briefing update on Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford became fired up when discussing the ongoing delay of vaccine shipments from Pfizer to Canada. Ford said that if he was prime minister, he'd "be up that guys ying-yang with a firecracker, he wouldn't know what hit him" he said referring to a Pfizer executive. He added, "I'd be outside that guy's house... where are our vaccines?!" – Jan 19, 2021

Toronto Mayor John Tory has joined a chorus of Canadian politicians in urging Pfizer-Biotech to produce more COVID-19 vaccine.

Tory followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, among others, in speaking directly to executives from the pharmaceutical multinational. Tory said he wanted to make a constructive case after the company said it would not be able to fulfil next week’s order to the federal government.

“The best way to go about these kinds of conversations is tomake your case as a Canadian, which I did, and as the mayor of the largest city in the country, and to try to make Canada’s case,” Tory said.

Read more: Doug Ford says Ontario will run out of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines by end of next week

Trudeau has said he spoke to Pfizer on Tuesday and Ford said he was in contact with the pharmaceutical manufacturer on Wednesday.

Story continues below advertisement

Tory said he knows members of Pfizer’s management team from his previous career as a business executive, and that he reached out to them in concert with the federal government.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“I’m trying to help the country’s efforts to try to see if we can’t get more supply,” the mayor said. “I can’t tell you what results my intervention, or anybody else’s, will have.”

Toronto has had to shut down its two vaccination programs until the federal government provides more doses to the city’s public health unit.

Read more: Ontario outlines how Pfizer vaccine delivery delay will affect its COVID-19 immunization plan

An immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre closed after two days of inoculating front-line health care workers.

The city also paused a pilot in shelters for people experiencing homelessness.

Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto’s chief medical officer, said everyone’s frustrated with the shipping delay, because the vaccine offers people hope.

“Having it slowed down and having the change in course is not what we wanted,” De Villa said. “But we expect there will be eventually vaccine coming available and we’ll do our very best.”

Story continues below advertisement

De Villa said there were 986 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto on Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The update included 102 cases from earlier in the week that had previously gone unreported because of a technical error.

Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the Toronto Board of Health, joined Tory and De Villa at the Thursday afternoon news conference.

All three detailed the city’s ongoing efforts to support racialized communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

Toronto, Ontario Health, hospitals, and community health providers have been working to improve access to testing in those neighbourhoods. Toronto reports nearly 271 testing clinics have been booked in more than 20 different city-owned facilities, with 89 more dates to come in January at 12 different sites.