Premier Doug Ford has begun contacting foreign officials in the hopes of securing more COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario.

In a statement sent to Daily Hive on April 18, a spokesperson for the premier said he would be “exhausting every avenue” in his efforts to increase the province’s supply of vaccines.

“While we wait for a federal decision on the lowering of the age limit for AstraZeneca, and in response to the latest cut in Moderna shipments, the Premier has begun reaching out to consulates to try and secure more vaccine supply for Ontario from our international allies,” the spokesperson said.

On April 16, Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada revealed that Moderna’s next shipment of COVID-19 vaccines had been cut in half.

The company was contracted to send 1.2 million doses to Canada during the week of April 19, but will instead only ship 650,000 doses.

The country may see additional delays from Moderna in the coming months as the company grapples with ongoing production challenges, Anand said.

As well, Canada has paused the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for those under the age of 55 as officials investigate rare but serious blood clots following immunization.

Two cases of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) have been reported in Canada to date.

“Ontario has the capacity to vaccinate more people, but we are lacking the supply to do it,” Ford’s spokesperson said.

“Vaccines are our only way out of this pandemic and the Premier will exhaust every avenue he has in order to get more needles into arms of Ontarians sooner.”

To date, 4,852,885 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to Ontario, with 3,837,881 doses having been administered.

The province has reported 416,995 virus cases and 7,716 deaths since the pandemic began.

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