No pharmacy vaccination clinics in Simcoe-Muskoka yet as Queen’s Park addresses “infernos” in Toronto, Peel, York

Premier says supply chain must be solidified before pharmacy program can ramp up

The Ford Government isn’t able to say yet when residents in Simcoe-Muskoka can expect to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine at a local pharmacy.

A pilot program in Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington regions allows anyone aged sixty or older to get a COVID-19 vaccine at select pharmacies in those areas. Premier Doug Ford said during a media briefing on Monday that the focus will remain there for now. “Yes, we have bushfires all around the province and we need to address those,” said Ford “But we have infernos happening in other regions, be it Toronto, Peel, and York to a certain degree. So, we’re going to make sure we focus on those regions.”

Ford said his government hopes to soon double the number of pharmacies offering a shot to 700, but couldn’t provide a timeline; the premier says everything depends on the province’s supply of vaccines. “It goes back to one thing: we’re at a fraction of our capacity, we need more vaccines. We should be having 3,200 pharmacies; we aren’t even at 25 percent.”

“That’s the disappointing thing, when we don’t have a guaranteed supply chain and ‘supply chain’ is the critical word here,” added Ford. “This week, we thought we were getting excess of over 300,000 Modernas. That’s been cut to one-third so we’re only getting 90,000. We don’t know when we’re getting the AstraZeneca.”

“It makes things very, very challenging. There’s no one who wants to ramp up these pharmacies more than I do.”