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B.C. truckers look to replicate vaccine agreement between Manitoba and North Dakota

Last Updated Apr 24, 2021 at 8:39 am PDT

Summary

Manitoban cross-border truckers have access to vaccines in that Midwestern US state

President of BC Trucking Association has reached out to his Washington State counterparts

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You could say B.C. truckers have some vaccine envy.

Last Monday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister along with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced the effort to identify eligible drivers, with the help of the Manitoba Trucking Association. The costs are being covered by the U.S.

Dave Earle with the BC Trucking Association says truckers in the province are definitely interested in something similar. He says he is making inquiries.

“We are really encouraged by what is happening in other jurisdictions and I did reach out to colleagues in Washington State to start that dialogue to see if a similar program is possible here.”

But he realizes there are differences between Washington State and North Dakota.

For one, North Dakota has vaccinated a higher percentage of the population, and now demand has waned.

“There is some opportunity now because they have some availability, whereas Washington State is just working as much as it can to get as many people through. It’s a much larger state with a much larger population.”

In the meantime, he’s pleased that COVID infections among cross-border long-haulers have been kept to a minimum.

“There was a pilot program to test several thousand truck drivers crossing the border in the fall. There was just such a low incidence of infection, we took that as a sign of success to keep doing what we are doing.”

The Canadian Trucking Association survey involved 35 carriers from all regions of Canada, representing 12,000 cross-border drivers. It found only 60 drivers contracted COVID, the majority of which contracted the virus through community spread and not through their jobs.