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Saskatchewan, North Dakota vaccinating cross-border essential workers

Essential workers crossing the international border between Saskatchewan and North Dakota will be vaccinated against COVID-19 under an agreement signed between the two governments.

The province says roughly 2,000 workers in Saskatchewan, mainly those transporting goods, will be eligible for the program.

It also applies to essential energy workers who regularly cross the border.

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

“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,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe in a statement Tuesday.

“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.”

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said this is an important agreement between the two governments.

“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,” Burgum said.

“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.”

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Saskatchewan waiting to hear about future shipments of COVID-19 vaccines

A vaccination site has been approved near North Portal, with the location to be determined in the coming days, according to the Saskatchewan government.

Officials said the North Dakota Department of Health will provide the staff and infrastructure to administer vaccinations.

They said there is 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.

The executive director of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association said vaccines are critical to fighting COVID-19.

“Providing necessary vaccines to professional drivers and oil field workers crossing the border will ensure the safety and protection of these workers as they continue to drive the economy,” Susan Ewart said.

A 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, from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

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