CALGARY — Alberta truckers who cross into Montana will be able to get vaccinated starting next week, Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday.
The vacciantions will be delivered at a rest stop near Conrad, Mt. between May 10 and May 23. No appointment will be necessary.
About 2,000 truckers will be eligible. The program will use excess vaccine from Montana made by Johnson and Johnson, which requires one dose.
Kenney said about 800 carriers cross the U.S.-Canada border at the Coutts crossing each day.
“We’re confident many truckers will pull over, roll up their sleeves and get their jab,” said Kenney.
The premier added he has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to lobby the U.S. government to loosen its rules around export of vaccines to make it possible for states with excess supply to send it to Canada.
The goal of the agreement announced Friday is to keep trade channels open, said Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte.
“I am grateful to Premier Kenney that we can band together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect truckers and their families from the virus, and ensure we maintain the exchange of goods our communities rely upon,” he said.
“Montana will continue working to maintain our strong bonds with the people of Alberta.”
Commercial transport drivers in Alberta have shown “steadfast commitment to their fellow Canadians and Americans,” during the pandemic said Chris Nash, president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association.
“The Alberta Motor Transport Association is indebted to the Alberta government, the Motor Carriers of Montana and the Governor of Montana. We are proud to share their commitment to cooperation and safeguarding those helping build a more resilient supply chain and supporting the communities and economies of our two great countries.”
Alberta opened vaccinations to anyone born in 1991 and earlier on Friday and on Monday, eligibility will expand to anyone age 12 and up.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 2,211 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.
No new deaths were reported in the province as 654 people remain in hospital, including 146 in ICU.
Alberta currently has the highest COVID-19 infection rates in North America.
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