Regina, Saskatchewan — Following in the steps of its prairie neighbour, the government of Saskatchewan has announced that they too will be partnering up with the U.S. state of North Dakota to help facilitate COVID-19 vaccines for select essential workers in the province.
Announced in a press release on Tuesday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that is planned to help about 2,000 Saskatchewan workers receive the vaccine.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation’s rest area near Drayton, N.D., is currently serving as a vaccination site for truck drivers originating in Manitoba. Saskatchewan truck drivers will be eligible for vaccination at the Drayton site starting Wednesday, April 28. Vaccinations are available from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
“Trade with the United States is essential for the Saskatchewan economy,” said Moe.
“These essential workers are crossing the border to ensure our residents and those in the United States have access to the goods and services they need to get through this pandemic. This extraordinary level of cooperation helps protect more Canadians at a time when vaccine availability in America exceeds that of Canada, and we thank Governor Burgum for working with our province to make this happen.”
Having secured a similar deal with the Manitoba government last week, Burgum expressed continued enthusiasm to be working with Canadian provinces to help keep supply chain workers safe.
“Protecting the health and safety of essential workers crossing our shared border with Saskatchewan, including truck drivers and energy workers, is vitally important for public health, our economy and the eventual safe reopening of the border,” said Burgum.
“We are grateful to Premier Moe for his partnership on this initiative, which will ensure the safe delivery of goods and services across the border and strengthen the longstanding friendly relationship between North Dakota and our northern neighbours.”
According to the press release, “An additional vaccination site has been approved near the Saskatchewan border crossing at North Portal to vaccinate Saskatchewan truck drivers who regularly cross the border. An appropriate location for this site is currently being determined and is to be released in the coming days.”
The North Dakota Department of Health will provide the staff and infrastructure to administer vaccinations. There will be no cost for the vaccination program to either the State of North Dakota or the Province of Saskatchewan, as the United States government provides vaccines and reimburses the cost of administering vaccines.