North Country lawmakers calling for vaccine eligibility to be expanded to Canadian truckers


ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Local lawmakers are calling on the New York State Department of Health to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility at the Northern Border.

New York State Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Mark Walczyk urged the DOH on Thursday to expand vaccine eligibility to commercial truckers entering the state from Canada.

This is following guidance from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo that expanded eligibility to non-New York tourists.

In a letter from Senator Ritchie and Assemblyman Walczyk to State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, both lawmakers asked for clarification regarding whether this eligibility included commercial truckers.

Ritchie and Walczyk stated that it does not cover these truckers, they urge the Commissioner to further expand eligibility.

The letter reads:

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, all major truck portals. But even in smaller communities, cross-border trucks provide a smooth and seamless supply line for important goods and products for consumers, manufacturers and vital businesses, and support strong jobs.

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.

At least one U.S. state has already announced its intent to provide vaccines to Canadian and New York should be a leader in this effort as well.

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