November 16, 2023
Team Ford Playing Favorites with Vaccine Distribution
This morning during question period, NDP Health Critic France Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt, questioned Premier Ford about the province’s decision to allow Shoppers Drug Mart to operate as a vaccine distributor for the province.
“Last week two Toronto pharmacies declared publicly that they are no longer administering vaccines due to major problems with the province’s new vaccine distributor. Who is the new distributor Speaker? Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws’ chain of pharmacies. The pharmacists in question reported receiving only 10% of their orders, having to cancel days of prebooked appointments, a real headache. Does the Premier see a conflict of interest in having Shoppers Drug Mart responsible for distributing vaccines to their competitors?”
It was widely reported last week that Toronto Pharmasave pharmacists were ending vaccination programs at two locations due to supply issues.
“Complaints against Shopper Drug Mart handling of the vaccine distribution are coming from every part of the province, even from Shopper Drug Mart pharmacy owners. A pharmacist in Northern Ontario told me that last year she was alone, so she only administered a limited amount of vaccines. This year she was able to recruit 3 pharmacists to come and help her, she got vaccine clinics booked solid for weeks on end but no vaccine as the distributor will only give her a percentage of what she used last year. When it comes to high dose flu vaccines the situation is even worse.
Speaker, Public Health handled vaccine distribution in Ontario for decades with no issues. They knew and listened to local providers. They were reliable. Does the Premier understand that handing the distribution of vaccines over to his friends is having drastic consequences on the health of Ontarians?”