Ontario Premier Doug Ford reacted to a report Thursday that the United States plans to send Canada 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, calling it “fabulous news.”
Ford has previously pressed the U.S. to assist Canada by sending vaccines. The U.S. has had a much faster vaccine rollout than Canada thus far.
“God bless America. They’re coming to our rescue,” Ford said in an unrelated press conference Thursday afternoon.
“Thank God. I’ve been bugging Trump, I’ve been bugging Biden — all of them. They must get sick of Doug Ford asking for help.”
In January, shortly before President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Ford made a public plea for help amid a shortage of doses in Canada.
“You have a new president, no more excuses,” Ford said in part.
An administration official told Reuters on Thursday that the United States plans to send roughly four million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that it is not using to Mexico and Canada in loan deals with the two countries.
Mexico will receive 2.5 million doses of the vaccine and Canada will receive 1.5 million doses, the official said.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the plan, but added, “It is not fully finalized yet but it is our aim.”
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A specific timetable for possible delivery was not immediately clear.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the U.S.
Ford said he appreciates the help.
“That’s what true neighbours do. You help each other out in a crisis,” he said.
“I understand, they’ve got to get their people done first. I’d be no different, but thank you. Bring it on.”
Ford said he knows the deal is still unconfirmed, but insisted “this is good news.”
“If we have to go down there and pick them up, I’ll drive down there in my pickup and pick them up if we have to … We’re ready. We can take all the vaccines you can give us.”
As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, Ontario had administered 1,359,453 COVID-19 vaccine doses, marking an increase of 58,119 over 24 hours.
— With files from Reuters