North Dakota to Work With Manitoba to Vaccinate Canada’s Essential Workers

North Dakota will work with the Canadian province of Manitoba to jointly vaccinate thousands of Canadian essential workers in a cross-border effort.

Gov. Doug Burgum announced during a joint press conference with Manitoba’s Premier Brian Pallister that the state and province will work to begin vaccinating as many as 4,000 workers, mainly cross-border truck drivers. The Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative could begin as early as Wednesday.

Pallister called it a “continental first.”

“The U.S. has got a lot of vaccine and Canada’s got less so this is an opportunity for us to work together starting with essential workers,” Burgum said.

Pallister added: “Beginning tomorrow the state of North Dakota will provide COVID-19 vaccines to fully immunize Manitoba-based truck drivers during their routine trips to the United States and over the next six to eight weeks conclude with the second vaccine and they will be doing that thanks to the government of the United States of America, free of charge and we say thank you.”

Burgum said North Dakota and Manitoba “have a long history of great relationship and collaboration, cooperating between North Dakota and Manitoba, and this is an opportunity to strengthen that bond by offering assistance to our northern neighbor, which will help protect public health and help get the flow of goods and services going again on both sides of the border.”

The governor said that more than half of his state’s residents have already received at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and with the shipment of more doses, and this was an opportunity to be “a good neighbor.”

According to Canadian government figures, 19.18% of the country’s population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of April 10, the most recent data available.

Pallister said he hopes the partnership between North Dakota and Manitoba can serve as an example for future cooperation across the countries.

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