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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Canadian parents are coming to Montana to vaccinate their young kids against COVID-19

Drazen Zigic

Some Canadian parents are making the trek into Montana to get their young children vaccinated against COVID-19.

Elizabeth Benfield is a Calgary resident who’s been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a vaccine for her kids. She thought she wouldn’t have to wait much longer once U.S. health officials gave the green light for kids younger than five to get the vaccine earlier this month.

“Obviously pretty excited about that,” Benfield says. “And we thought maybe Canada would follow suit right away, but there has been no movement up here.”

Teton and Flathead County health departments have been among the Montana health jurisdictions that have been receiving calls from Canadian parents like Benfield eager to get their kids vaccinated. Benfield went to Kalispell to get her children their first dose.

Flathead County Health Officer Joe Russell says demand for early childhood COVID vaccines is low among locals, and says Canadian parents coming down is helping reduce waste.

“Anytime we can expend a vial and not have to open another one right at the end of the day, it’s always a good day,” Russell says.

Benfield says she may return to Montana for her children’s second round of shots if they're still unavailable in Canada. The Canadian government hasn’t given a timeline for approving the vaccines for young kids.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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