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Manitoba teachers can soon get COVID-19 shot in North Dakota, premier says

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Manitoba teachers can soon head to North Dakota to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Premier Brian Pallister says.

During a press conference Thursday Pallister said teachers and education workers are being added to the list of essential workers cleared to get their shots through a cross-border vaccination agreement set up between the province and its southern neighbour.

Read more: Manitoba and North Dakota look to vaccinate cross-border essential workers

“Although there’s a surplus of demand here, there’s no surplus of vaccines, so having the ability to have the partnership with North Dakota is very valuable,” said Pallister.

“We all understand that we have an education system that we have to protect.”

Click to play video: Cross-border vaccine site in North Dakota already rolling out vaccines

Pallister said details of the program expansion “are being developed as we speak” and didn’t say Thursday when teachers can begin making the trip down south to get their shots.

He said he expects to release more information early next week.

The initiative, announced last week, initially saw commercial truck drivers who regularly travel into the United States given the green light to get their shots at special vaccination sites set up along the highway on the United States side of the border.

Read more: Manitoba well behind North Dakota in race to herd immunity

Pallister said the aim is to allow teachers to drive to the U.S. border, get a shot on the North Dakota side — where vaccines are plentiful — and immediately drive back home.

“The isolation requirements that are normally there for people when they return from the United States, will not apply,” he said.

He said one location will be on the highway from Winnipeg and another one will hopefully be set up on the highway south of Brandon.

Click to play video: COVID-19: Manitoba, North Dakota announce joint-initiative to vaccinate cross-border essential workers

The shots are being provided at no cost, having been paid for by the U.S. federal government, and will be available via appointments, the province said last week.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society has called for its members to be prioritized for vaccines and for schools in Winnipeg to move to remote learning due to rising COVID-19 infections.

Read more: Nearly 2 dozen families isolating after St. Vital school COVID-19 outbreak

Pallister says teachers over the age of 40 can already be vaccinated along with the general population, and teachers and other front-line workers over 18 in high-risk areas are being prioritized.

–With files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: The state of COVID-19 in North Dakota

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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