Plan to vaccinate Manitoba teachers in North Dakota paused; Pallister now looking for vaccines to be shipped to province
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba teachers will likely not be travelling south of the border to get vaccinated, the premier announced on Friday.
“It was my hope that we could have teachers vaccinated in North Dakota as well, but my friends at the Manitoba teachers’ union felt it was disrespectful,” Premier Brian Pallister said. “It wasn’t meant that way. It was meant to show, quite frankly, our government’s respect for the work of our teachers, and help facilitate those who could travel 45 minutes to get a vaccine.”
Last week, Premier Brian Pallister announced Manitoba teachers and education workers would soon be eligible to travel to North Dakota to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement followed a similar partnership between the province and the state to vaccinate truck drivers.
“Months ago, we worked with North Dakota to try to determine if they would have additional vaccines, pursued that avenue, found that Governor Doug Burgum and his team were very cooperative and supportive,” Pallister said.
The details of the plan were being finalized last week, but teachers would have received special permission to cross the border, receive their vaccine, and then immediately return to Canada.
Now, Pallister said he is hoping North Dakota will be able to ship vaccines across the border to Manitoba, which he said will take longer than his original plan.
Pallister said both governments want the plan to move forward, but still need approval from the U.S. government to do so.
“It is unprecedented to have an American state shipping vaccines across the line into another country, and we need approval from the White House before they can do that,” he said. “They have to deal with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency now.”
Currently, school staff who live or work in priority neighbourhoods in the province can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society has been calling on the province to make all Manitoba teachers eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in the province without help from the United States.
CTV News reached out to North Dakota and the White House for comment, but did not receive a reply.