Alberta and Montana have reached an agreement to speed up the vaccination of Albertans by inoculating truckers who transport essential goods across the Canada-United States border.
Alberta commercial truck drivers who are regulated to transport goods into the United States will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. About 2,000 Alberta truck drivers are eligible to be vaccinated under the program.
Alberta premier Jason Kenney said, “We’re doing everything we can to get a vaccine into Albertans’ arms as fast as possible, including by forging this innovative agreement with Montana. We are very grateful to Montana governor Gianforte for the generous donation of vaccines to protect our truckers. Alberta depends on trade with our American neighbours and this program will ensure our goods get to market while stopping the spike of COVID-19.”
Greg Gianforte, governor of Montana said, “The pandemic has had devastating consequences, including a severe impact on our economies. By working together and taking this critical action, we keep our trade channels open between Montana and Alberta. 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. Montana will continue working to maintain our strong bonds with the people of Alberta.”
Starting May 10, Montana will be providing vaccines to truckers entering the state at a rest stop near Conrad at no cost. The service is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until May 23.
Ric McIver, Alberta minister of transportation and municipal affairs said, “Truckers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep our goods moving and shelves stocked. This agreement with our American neighbours will help us protect Alberta truckers who cross the border while vaccinating as many Albertans as quickly as we can.”
Chris Nash, president, Alberta Motor Transport Association said, “Alberta’s commercial transportation drivers have shown a steadfast commitment to their fellow Canadians and Americans. In the last year, they have bravely put themselves at risk of infection by working both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. 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.”
Montana will be providing the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine during the program. Truck drivers will not be required to book ahead to receive the vaccinations. About 800 commercial carriers cross the Alberta-Montana border at the Coutts Border Crossing each day.