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Windsor hospital CEO seeks Michigan's surplus vaccines

The head of a major hospital in Windsor, Ontario wants Michigan to give up some of its surplus COVID-19 vaccines.

David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, has submitted an emergency application to Health Canada’s special access program. Health Canada is the country’s equivalent of the U.S Food and Drug Administration, and the program allows Canada to procure life-saving drugs abroad if they’re in short supply there.

Musyj said COVID-19 vaccines fit that description in Canada—whereas in Michigan, vaccine supply is now outpacing demand. “So as many as you can give us, we’ll take,” he said. “We need all we can get. Because right now in Ontario and Windsor-Essex and in Canada, our demand outstrips our supply.”

Musyj said that while around 55% of people in the Windsor-Essex area have received a first dose of a COVID vaccine, only about 3% are fully-immunized. That’s because with vaccines in short supply, the Canadian governmentextended the timeline between doses to a maximum of four months, as opposed to the standard 3-4 weeks in the U.S.

Musyj said the request would need Health Canada’s approval, as well as sign-off from the U.S. federal government and most likely Michigan leaders as well. There are ongoing talks between the two nations about possibly exporting surplus American vaccines, though there are obstacles there, including contractual provisions that require vaccine-makers to fulfill U.S. government orders first.

“This helps promote those discussions, hopefully,” Musyj said. “And we definitely need the two governments, federal governments, to work together to make this happen.”

“We all benefit from this. We've helped each other out for years and we've got to help each other out right now. And it's in everyone's best interest to do so.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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