North Dakota to vaccinate Manitoba truckers

by Today's Trucking

North Dakota will administer Covid-19 vaccinations to Manitoba-based truck drivers transporting goods to and from the United States, the first such program between a Canadian and U.S. jurisdiction.

The Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative was announced by North Dakota governor Doug Burgum and Manitoba premier Brian Pallister on Tuesday.

The initiative will help vaccinate 2,000 to 4,000 Manitoba truck drivers. (Photo: iStock)

“North Dakota and Manitoba have a long and rich history of friendship and co-operation, and this vaccination initiative is an opportunity to strengthen that bond by offering assistance that will protect public health and the flow of goods and services on both sides of the border,” Burgum said.

Pallister said, “Manitoba is proud to partner with North Dakota on this innovative strategy to provide life-saving vaccines to Manitoba’s essential workers delivering the goods and services Manitobans, Canadians and Americans rely on.”

2,000-4,000 truck drivers

With the assistance of the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) and its members, Manitoba will identify and co-ordinate with eligible individuals and work with North Dakota to schedule vaccination appointments for truck drivers during their routine trips to the U.S. over the next six to eight weeks. It is estimated roughly 2,000 to 4,000 Manitoba drivers will take part in this program.

“On behalf of my eligible driving staff and all Manitoba Trucking Association members, I welcome today’s announcement,” said Bernie Driedger, president of Portage Transport Inc. “When it comes to the Covid vaccine the most important question is not where can one get it, but when can one get it?

“To see Manitoba and North Dakota coming together to creatively collaborate on a vaccination strategy that will expedite the vaccination of Manitoba truck drivers working to or through North Dakota is excellent news. This move protects these important essential workers and their families, while also freeing up vaccination spots back in Manitoba.”

The North Dakota Department of Transportation’s rest area near Drayton, N.D., will initially serve as the vaccination site, which will also be open to North Dakotans ages 16 and older to get vaccinated. Vaccinations will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Few drivers with Covid-19

The announcement comes as a Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) straw poll revealed that 35 of Canada’s largest cross-border fleets have counted no more than 60 truck drivers who have contracted Covid-19 since March 2020 – barely 0.005% of the 12,000 drivers they employ.

Most of the drivers who tested positive contracted the virus through community spread and not their occupation, the alliance adds.

“Unfortunately, as many search for answers and solutions to fight this crisis, some people have wrongly identified the very people who have kept this country moving as a source for the growing Covid-19 problem,” the alliance says. 

“These mischaracterizations being made of truck drivers, including those who must travel across the border and between provinces to deliver the essential freight Canadians and businesses require, are unfair and, flatly, unsupported by the evidence and available data.” 

The stigma has seen drivers denied access to retail restaurant facilities and washrooms, while families have been turned away from standard medical treatment despite meeting other qualifications, CTA says.

Canada’s largest trucking association stressed in its statement that longhaul truck drivers may physically contact as few as one or two people over three or four days, and are largely isolated in their cabs.

Recent testing clinics held in Alberta and B.C. generated no positive results for Covid-19, it adds.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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  • I’ve said this along, that why can’t something be set up at border to vaccinate truck drivers. So easy to do. But our wizzards in Ottawa can’t think past end of their nose. I’ll bet dollars for donuts that the USA come up with this idea. Koodos for somebody thinking about the truckers and getting us our shots.

  • why the heck can’t all provinces open mass immunization sites rather than do elaborate setups with long waits and computer crashes etc. ? This would include all ages, not select groups

    All the football, hockey rinks, sports facilities, and empty government offices could easily absorb the Canadian population who need vaccines, if one needs shelter from the elements.

  • I have sent letters to our MP and MPP to set up a clinic at the borders so drivers can all stop and get there shot or be tested
    MP response was it is up to the Province even though the borders are Federal
    No response for the MPP at least ND and MB are understanding how trucking has kept our Country’s moving though all of this

  • I would like to see the ones that have a issue with drivers crossing the lines a d if they would like to make more noise and stop us from our work of kerping the econ9 moving for the ones at home then let’s show them what happens when we slow truck traffic to a dead crawl for a week and their supply runs short, or even out, this said we would not slow off on the emergency supply to the medical support that are needed. Thanks

  • Well, I guess that’s a good thing for the drivers who want a shot. I run strictly across Canada and I and the company I work for are very careful. I won’t be getting a dangerous, unproven vaccine.

    • Aye William!! And that is the REAL TRUTH. So many people seriously brain-washed. Stop watching locally government funded news media… the real truth is being exposed and you can find it. There are many being harmed by the so called vaccine (NOT!) We others are waiting to see the results & damage caused by these UN-Tested shots.

  • It is Time the government health experts are exposed for inaccurate or politically motivated information