Ontario Liberal leader urges Ford to ask the military to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines

Jan 6 2021, 9:29 am

The leader of the Ontario Liberal Party is asking Doug Ford to request military assistance to help distribute the COVID-19 vaccines.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Steven Del Duca said he has no faith in the Premier’s ability to “rapidly and effectively distribute COVID-19 vaccinations, and deal with the ongoing crisis in our nursing homes.”

“So today, I am urging the Premier to request immediate assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces who are well-positioned to provide important logistical leadership and support,” he said.

Del Duca added that the province’s response to COVID-19 has lagged behind other provinces consistently.

“And we now know that our province’s vaccination rollout is weeks behind schedule, with tens of thousands of doses still sitting in freezers. At the same time, numbers of new cases grow to record levels and the tragedy unfolding in our nursing homes continues to spiral out of control with far too many loved ones being lost,” he said.

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On Tuesday, Ford boasted that Ontario will lead North America once the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is ramped up.

“As we ramp up as you’ve noticed throughout this pandemic, it might take us a week – maybe a couple [of] weeks – but once we get the machine going in Ontario, we kick butt anywhere in the country or North America,” he said.

He added, “Whether it’s the testing, we’re leading North America, or the world in testing, or PPE – once we put Team Ontario behind it, we become the leaders.”

The premier also said that if the next shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine does not arrive by Thursday, the province will run out by the weekend.

Del Duca said that Ford needs to regain control of the situation.

“It is no longer good enough for Doug Ford to offer up empty platitudes and confusing talking points,” said Del Duca.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for Ontario that requires meaningful leadership, and the buck stops with Doug Ford. He needs to pick up the phone and make this request in order to regain control, distribute vaccinations rapidly and protect the people of our province.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is also urging the Ford government to accelerate their vaccination schedule in long-term care homes.

“Can you imagine the torment of knowing that someone in your mom’s long-term care home has COVID-19, knowing that there’s a vaccine sitting in a freezer right now that could keep her safe, but being told that it’ll be two weeks, or maybe much, much longer, before she’ll get her shot?” Horwath said in a statement.

According to Horwath, the government reported Tuesday that nearly 400,000 doses of the vaccine will arrive in January, and it only plans to give out the first dose of the vaccine to about 55,000 nursing home residents over the next two weeks, and is only focusing on residents in four regions.

“With COVID-19 spiralling out of control in Ontario’s long-term care homes for the second time since spring, the Ford government has responded with a plodding, lethargic vaccine rollout,” said Horwath. “While seniors in long-term care and their families are racked with fear and anguish, Mr. Ford simply does not want to spend the money to get vaccines into arms as soon as possible.”

On Tuesday, Ford said that every long-term care resident and worker will be vaccinated by January 21.