LeBlanc: Rankin’s hesitancy on AstraZeneca left southwestern Nova Scotians without

Southwestern Nova Scotia residents have not had access to any AstraZeneca vaccine clinics in their part of the province, with Minister Zach Churchill confirming today that the government could not get a plan in place to establish a clinic locally under tight timelines.

During Question Period, LeBlanc asked the Minister about the issue and questioned why there wasn’t a plan in place for each region last year when preparing for vaccine distribution. LeBlanc noted that the drive to an existing AstraZeneca clinic would be an hour and a half for some.

“The southwestern region doesn’t have anything close to a convenient access to the AstraZeneca vaccine,” says LeBlanc. “First, the Premier wouldn’t commit to taking the vaccine, then when he did, he didn’t have a plan to get it to southwestern Nova Scotia.”

The Premier famously went on CTV news and was questioned about his refusal to accept AstraZeneca. He later backed away from that position.

Despite LeBlanc reinforcing the importance of the vaccine, Minister Churchill and the Premier have been intent on linking questions about access to politics. LeBlanc says that trying to bring politics into the vaccine rollout is beneath the Minister and the Premier.

“It’s not about politics, it’s about people. It’s about getting more people in our region vaccinated,” says LeBlanc. “You’d think the Minister would understand the urgency.”

Nova Scotia remains last in Canada in vaccines administered per capita. Every day that the vaccine is not in arms is a day that Nova Scotians can’t return to normal or will worry about catching COVID-19.

“The Minister and I have neighbouring constituencies, so I'm sure he's getting the same calls I'm getting,’ says LeBlanc. “So I have a duty to ask. If the Minister wants to politicize COVID-19, that’s up to him, but that’s not what Nova Scotians want.”