BISMARCK, N.D. -- The Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative has reached a new milestone, with more than 2,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine given to Manitoba truck drivers in North Dakota, Premier Brian Pallister and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced today.
“Thanks to the generosity of our southern neighbors in North Dakota, we’ve been able to boost Manitoba’s vaccination efforts and protect truck drivers who are working tirelessly through the pandemic to deliver essential goods and services to Manitobans and across the border,” said Pallister. “Based on demand from Manitobans passing through North Dakota on their delivery routes, the successful partnership is extended through July and this strong cross-border cooperation will continue to benefit both our communities and our economies.”
“The success of this first-of-its-kind program between North Dakota and Manitoba is a testament to our strong commitment to protecting public health and providing safe, effective vaccines to those essential workers who transport goods and services across our border,” Burgum said. “By extending the program through July, we can continue to protect the health of our citizens and our economies as we move closer to the reopening of our shared border.”
Announced in April, the Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative has coordinated the opportunity for Manitoba-based truck drivers transporting goods to and from the United States to schedule immunization appointments on routine trips. The first clinic opened April 21 at a northbound rest area on Interstate 29 (I-29) near Drayton, N.D. To date, 2,523 doses have been administered to Manitoba truck drivers in North Dakota, with 1,719 receiving a first dose and 804 receiving a second dose. Pallister noted the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) and its members have helped the province identify and coordinate to recruit eligible individuals.
The state and province established a joint operations group to manage the initiative, with the North Dakota Department of Health providing nurses and other staff to administer first and second doses. There is no cost to the state or province as the U.S. government supplies the vaccine and reimburses the costs to administer.
The North Dakota Department of Health has extended the Drayton pop-up vaccination clinic through the month of July to accommodate Canadian traffic. The department noted an average of 45 to 50 Canadians are vaccinated each day at that site. It has also arranged a weekend pop-up site at the GasTrak off I-29 in Pembina, N.D.
Manitoban truck drivers are currently able to get vaccinated at two clinics in North Dakota:
- GasTrak at 700 W Stutsman St. in Pembina every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and
- Drayton rest area on I-29 near Drayton every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
These locations and hours will be effective through July.