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

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

Instead, Benfield and other Canadian parents are making the trek into Montana to get their young children vaccinated against COVID-19.

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 said.

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.

Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Aaron is Montana Public Radio's Flathead reporter.