BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister unveiled a plan Tuesday to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to Manitoba-based truck drivers transporting goods to and from the United States.
The Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative expects to vaccinate up to 4,000 Manitoba drivers in the next six to eight weeks, the two leaders said in a release. Burgum said North Dakota has adequate vaccine supplies and it benefits both countries to work together on giving shots.
“The timely and effective administration of vaccines is essential for public health and the eventual safe reopening of our shared border,” Burgum said.
The Manitoba Trucking Association will help provincial officials identify eligible truckers and work with North Dakota to line up shot appointments during the drivers’ trips over the next two months. The Interstate 29 rest area near Drayton in northeastern North Dakota will serve as the initial vaccination site.
“As Manitoba faces the third wave of the pandemic and the significant challenges associated with variants of concern, our number one limiting factor in protecting Manitobans is the availability of COVID-19 vaccines,” Pallister said.
North Dakota and Manitoba share the fifth-busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada.