Alberta's cross-border truckers to be vaccinated by Montana

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the province has signed an agreement with Montana to provide Johnson & Johnson shots to Canadian truckers crossing the border.

Premier says state will provide Johnson & Johnson shots to truckers starting May 10

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says cross-border truckers from the province will be vaccinated in Montana, starting on May 10. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Montana will provide Johnson & Johnson shots to truckers crossing the border starting on May 10. 

The deal is similar to earlier agreements signed between Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota and is expected to affect approximately 2,000 truckers. 

"The initiative we are announcing today is just part of our effort to get vaccines into the arms of all Albertans as quick as we can," Kenney said Friday morning. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose. Truckers will receive the jab at a rest stop near Conrad in Montana. 

"I want to close by thanking the truckers who have driven thousands of kilometres and work day in and day out to ensure that our communities have the food, medicine and vital goods throughout the pandemic of the past year," said Kenney.

Alberta has been hit hard by a third wave of COVID-19 and currently has more active cases, per capita, than any Canadian province or U.S. state.

Kenney's United Conservative government also announced a dramatic expansion of vaccine eligibility this week, with all Albertans over the age of 30 qualifying as of Thursday and all Albertans aged 12 and over to be made eligible as of Monday.

That means that, of the province's roughly 4.4 million residents, about 3.8 million will be eligible to be vaccinated by next week. 

On Thursday, approximately 100,000 newly eligible Albertans signed up for vaccinations. 

Prior to this announcement, Alberta was on track to receive more than 4.2 million doses of various vaccines by July 4.