A plan to have Manitoba teachers vaccinated in North Dakota has morphed into having vaccine doses shipped north, Premier Brian Pallister said Friday.
The original plan, announced last week, would have seen teachers and school staff head south of the border to North Dakota to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The plan received criticism from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, though.
"My friends at the Manitoba teachers’ union thought that was disrespectful, it wasn’t meant that way, it was meant to try to show, frankly, our government’s respect for the work of teachers and help facilitate those who could travel 45 minutes to get a vaccine," Pallister said.
On Friday morning, Pallister said the provincial government was waiting on permission from the White House to have doses shipped from North Dakota to Manitoba instead.
"I would have preferred we make the vaccines available quickly for those who are able to travel to North Dakota, apparently that wasn’t well-received," he said.
It’s "unprecedented" to have an American state shipping vaccine across the border, Pallister said, so federal approval from the White House is needed. North Dakota made the request last week and is in active discussions with the American federal government.
"This introduces bureaucratic delays… we’re waiting on an answer from the White House," he said.
"Our hope would be if we can get a truck down there, get the vacancies up here, that’s better, but I knew at the start that plan would take a while to get approval."
The teacher plan follows a previous announcement Manitoba truckers would be able to get vaccinated in North Dakota. Approximately 1,000 truckers had received a dose so far, according to Pallister.
» The Brandon Sun