WINNIPEG -- Manitoba teachers and education workers will soon become eligible to get a COVID-19 shot in North Dakota, Premier Brian Pallister announced Thursday.

The Premier said Manitoba is still finalizing the details of the program, but he said people would be given special permission to cross the border to get the vaccine and then immediately return to Canada.

The program is similar to one already rolled out by Manitoba and North Dakota for truckers.

Students and staff in Manitoba schools have been hit hard by COVID-19 and isolation requirements in recent weeks, prompting several schools to make the move to remote learning.

The Manitoba Teachers' Society has been calling for all teachers and education staff to become eligible for vaccines.

During a news conference, Pallister said the North Dakota program will provide one other access point for teachers and educators and added he’s not trying to overplay it as the sole answer.

He noted some teachers and education workers over 18 may already eligible in certain regions and neighbourhoods deemed as hot spots, including in the Northern Regional Health Region where getting to the U.S.-Canada border would require a long drive. People over 40 are eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine at pharmacies and clinics in Manitoba.

“So, the North Dakota announcement is an extra thing, it’s not the only thing,” Pallister said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people North Dakota can accommodate. The Premier said more details will be announced next week.

He noted there could two access points – one on Highway 75 south of Emerson and another potentially on Highway 10 at the International Peace Gardens.

Pallister said Manitoba’s working on the plan with North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Canada’s Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.