MINNEAPOLIS -- State officials are launching a pilot program at nine locations around Minnesota, preparing for the second wave of COVID-19 vaccinations when more vaccine is available.

Officials say a small number of doses will be available for those age 65 and over, plus pre-K through grade 12 educators, school staff and child care workers.

There is a very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota, and despite promises from the Trump administration of additional allocations, Minnesota has not yet received an increase in weekly doses.

Governor Tim Walz has repeatedly called on the federal government to purchase more vaccine.

The federal government has been giving mixed messages on vaccine availability and guidance, and we need them to step up and get more vaccine to the state. When they do, we will be ready.

Today’s announcement expands the priority populations eligible for a vaccine right now. Additional details on Phase 1b are dependent on decisions to be made by the federal government and will be available in the weeks ahead.

Pilot locations will begin offering vaccines on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Appointment scheduling begins around noon Tuesday at mn.gov/vaccine.

Locations include Anoka, Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Marshall, Mountain Iron, North Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud and Thief River Falls.

Minnesota News Network contributed to this story.

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