NEAR CONRAD — Some U.S. and Canadian truck drivers are making a pit stop along I-15 near Conrad to get vaccinated against COVID.
The Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services began a mission on May 10th to keep the flow of goods moving across border by vaccinating truck drivers; working with a team from Best Practice Medical, in three days they have already administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to nearly 300 truckers.
Trucker Tim Smith said, “That’s why I stopped here today. It’s really convenient because you have to make appointments, and with our job you never really know from one day to the next where you’re going to be.”
Jim Murphy of DPHHS explained, “We wanted to make sure that interstate and international truck traffic was able to continue. This is the only interstate that crosses the Montana-Canadian border so we thought it was a good opportunity to vaccinate both U.S. and Canadian truckers that are involved in the transport of goods across the border. That’s going to help guarantee the flow of goods, and protect the health and safety of those truckers and their families.”
Smith explained, “My daughter, she has a very bad immune system and my wife, too and my son, both my kids actually. So since I cross the border, I go to so many places, I haul all over the states and Canada, so for me, I don’t want to give it to anybody.”
The vaccination site at the truck stop at I-15 exit 339 will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. for truck drivers until May 23rd. On May 15th, 16th, 22nd, and 23rd the site will be open for public vaccination.
About 2,000 Alberta truck drivers are eligible to be vaccinated under the program.
“We’re doing everything we can to get a vaccine into Albertans’ arms as fast as possible, including by forging this innovative agreement with Montana,” Alberta premier Jason Kenney said. “We are deeply grateful to Montana Governor Gianforte and the U.S. government for their generous donation of vaccines to protect our truckers. Alberta depends on trade with our American neighbours and this program will ensure our goods get to market while stopping the spike of COVID-19.”
“The pandemic has had devastating consequences, including a severe impact on our economies,” said Montana governor Greg Gianforte. “By working together and taking this critical action, we keep our trade channels open between Montana and Alberta.”