By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday that the state is launching nine pilot vaccine sites, which will begin vaccinating a limited number of educators, child care workers and adults over the age of 65.

Of the 60,000 first COVID-19 vaccine doses coming into the state this week, 12,000 will be reserved for these new categories. State health officials say it’s to get the ball rolling while they wait for the federal government to up the vaccine supply.

READ MORE: Police Investigate Woman's Apparent Shooting Death In Austin

Educators and teachers’ unions have been vocal about wanting educators to have access to the vaccine as part of a safe return to the classroom.

St. Paul Public Schools will get 88 vaccine doses. The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers says Minneapolis Public Schools will get 86. The district has more than 5,000 educators, many who are getting ready to head back to the classroom next month.

“We should be waiting until we have the majority of our educators vaccinated before having students return to in-person learning,” MFT Teacher Chapter President Greta Callahan said.

Walz stood by his decision Monday to prioritize getting elementary students back into the classroom soon even without enough vaccine doses for educators ready yet.

READ MORE: At Least 2 People Struck By Vehicle On Nicollet In Downtown Minneapolis

“We believe we’ve created an atmosphere using social distancing and the use of PPE and masking,” Walz said. “And the new data coming out of K-5, which we prioritized, of transmission rates being much lower.”

Teachers told WCCO they’re anxious to get the vaccine.

“As soon as it’s my turn,” sixth grade teacher Libby Anderson said. “I’ll wait my turn, but once it’s my turn, I’ll be very excited.”

Vaccinations for those eligible for the pilot program will begin on Thursday.

MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: Dangerous, Smoky Air Could Linger Longer Than Our Current Alert

The Minnesota Department of Health says if you’re eligible to get a vaccine you will need to make an appointment online beginning Tuesday at noon.

Kate Raddatz