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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Rochester is among the nine locations in Minnesota chosen to participate in a pilot COVID-19 vaccination program announced today by Governor Tim Walz.

The pilot program will be allocated a limited amount of the vaccine to begin providing the shots to Minnesotans 65 years or older along with educators and child care workers. Appointments will be required, and educators and child care workers are being told not to make an appointment unless they are notified by their employer that they have been selected to receive a dose of the vaccine. For those 65 years and older, appointments will be available beginning at noon on Tuesday by calling toll free at 833-431-2053 or through an online portal. Officials stress the need for patience as the demand continues to far outstrip the supply of the vaccine.

Besides Rochester, the pilot project will also be operating at sites in Anoka, Brooklyn Center, North Mankato, St. Cloud, Thief River Falls, Fergus Falls, Mountain Iron, and Marshall.

The health department notes the priority for the vaccine program remains on health care workers and long-term care residents and staff. Officials say Minnesota is still on-pace to offer the first dose of the vaccine to everyone in those groups by the end of the month. Additional information about who will be the focus in the next phase of the vaccination program will be made public in the coming weeks.

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