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Alberta signs deal with Montana for COVID-19 vaccines for truckers

Last Updated May 7, 2021 at 11:52 am MDT

Transport trucks approach the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. The federal NDP health critic says he is greatly concerned that there is no tracking of COVID-19 infections in long-haul truckers who are travelling back and forth across the United States border.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – The province has signed an agreement with Montana to give COVID-19 shots to truckers when they cross the Canada U.S border.

Premier Jason Kenney making the announcement Friday morning along with Transportation Minister, Ric McIver, and President of Alberta Motor Transport, Chris Nash.

Kenney says the agreement will support the supply chain during the rest of the pandemic adding there will be no cost to Alberta and truckers will get surplus shots from the Montana government.

WATCH: Premier Kenney speaks about deal between Alberta and Montana for COVID-19 vaccines for truckers

About 2,000 truckers will be eligible through this program and Montana will give the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for greater ease. No appointments will be needed.

“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,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

This deal is similar to the ones between the province of Saskatchewan and Manitoba with the government of North Dakota.

“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,” said Minister of Transportation, Ric McIver.

On the vaccine front in Alberta, eligibility opened for more people on Thursday where now anyone over the age of 30 is eligible for the jab.

READ MORE: Thousands of Albertans book for COVID-19 vaccine as Thursday, anyone 30 and older eligible

One hundred and thirty thousand appointments were booked for shots on the first day according to the premier.

Nash says this agreement proves collaboration has helped truckers recover through the pandemic and it keeps essential workers safe.

“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,” said Nash.

As of right now, there are an estimated 2,000 doses of the vaccine available to truckers and Kenney says they will go back to the Montana government and there will be a ton of excess doses. Kenney is hopeful Montana will expand the program.

Lastly, the premier says he will be speaking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk about the issue with the U.S and sharing the shots adding if you are a Canadian in the United States you could get a shot and are encouraging everyone to do so.