By Derek Craddock
Thousands of Alberta truck drivers will soon be able to receive their COVID-19 vaccines in Montana.
Premier Jason Kenney announced a new partnership with the state Friday that will allow roughly 2,000 drivers to be vaccinated once they cross the Canada-U.S. border.
The shots will be given at a rest stop near the city of Conrad, about one hour from the Coutts Border Crossing.
"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," said Kenney. "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."
Montana will be providing the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and drivers will not be required to book ahead to receive the shot.
"The pandemic has had devastating consequences, including a severe impact on our economies," said Montana Governor Greg Gianforte. "By working together and taking this critical action, we keep our trade channels open between Montana and Alberta."
"This just gives them (truck drivers) greater security," added Kenney. "Once they get that single-dose jab, they're good to go. Both governments, Canada and the U.S., as well as the states, are comfortable in giving them an exemption from the quarantine requirements. They already have one in fact but this just extends it."
Last month, a First Nations community in Montana provided excess doses of the vaccine to Albertans living near the border.
The vaccine program for truck drivers will start on May 10 and run until May 23.