Sask., North Dakota reach deal to vaccinate cross-border truckers, other essential workers
The North Portal border crossing can be seen in this undated photo. (Source: CBSA)
REGINA -- Truckers transporting goods across the Canada-United States border between Saskatchewan and North Dakota will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting Wednesday.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed a Memorandum of Understanding to vaccinate essential workers who transport goods across the border, according to a release from the province.
The Government of Saskatchewan said approximately 2,000 residents will be eligible for the program.
"These essential workers are crossing the border to ensure our residents and those in the United States have access to the goods and services they need to get through this pandemic. This extraordinary level of cooperation helps protect more Canadians at a time when vaccine availability in America exceeds that of Canada, and we thank Governor Burgum for working with our province to make this happen," Moe said.
North Dakota currently has a vaccination site set up at the Department of Transportation's rest area near Drayton, N.D., for truckers originating in Manitoba. Saskatchewan truck drivers will be able to receive vaccines at this site beginning on April 28.
Vaccinations are available from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Saskatchewan will be adding a vaccination site near the North Portal border crossing to vaccinate truck drivers and essential energy workers who cross the border often. The location of this site is being determined and will be released in the coming days.
"Protecting the health and safety of essential workers crossing our shared border with Saskatchewan, including truck drivers and energy workers, is vitally important for public health, our economy and the eventual safe reopening of the border," Burgum said.
Staff and infrastructure at these sites will be provided by the North Dakota Department of Health. The province said there would be no costs for North Dakota or Saskatchewan, since the United States government provides vaccines and reimburses the costs associated with administering them.