Duncan, Barrett glad to see push to vaccinate Canadian truck drivers in New York state

CORNWALL —  Local Eastern Ontario MP’s Eric Duncan and Michael Barrett are applauding the efforts of their elected counterparts south of the border as  they urge the New York State Department of Health to expand the state’s vaccination program to include truck drivers from Canada.

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that tourist non-New Yorkers are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In a joint letter to New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard  Zucker, State Senator Patty Ritchie and State Assemblyman Mark Walczyk have requested clarification on whether commercial truckers entering New York from Canada, deemed as essential workers, qualify to get the jab while stateside.

Zucker and Ritchie have asked the Health Commissioner  to clarify and definitely expand the eligibility in the same manner that other border states, alongside Western Canada, have already done.

“As with vaccination of tourists, expanding eligibility to Canadian truckers will not only help protect the health and safety of these travelers and any New Yorkers with whom they may come in contact, but also spur business and economic growth and speed the full reopening of the Canadian-U.S. border,” their letter reads. It also notes that New York has four of the most heavily trafficked border crossings between the two countries — Buffalo-Niagara Falls, Champlain-Rouses Point, Massena and the Thousand Islands Bridge in Alexandria Bay, which are all major truck portals.

“I am delighted to see the advocacy that is being done by my counterparts in Upstate NY to expand their vaccination  program to include those Canadians crossing the border with essential goods,” said Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MP Eric Duncan. “We understand that the economic  relationship between the North Country and Eastern Ontario is one of mutual benefit. The sooner we can vaccinate  more people, the sooner we can start the process of re-opening the border and resuming cross border visits and our  normal trade relations.” 

Leeds Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Michael also expressed his gratitude. “The opportunity for Canadian truck drivers to be vaccinated and protected  sooner is an important step towards our goal for the safe reopening of the Canada-US border, and I look forward to  continuing the work with our counterparts on the shared economic and social ties between our two countries and our  border communities.” 


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