NEW ORLEANS (AP) — People 70 and over will be able to get vaccinated against the coronavirus starting next week. Gov. John Bel Edwards made the announcement Thursday. It came one day after the state saw a record one-day total of new coronavirus infections.

Starting next week, a network of about 100 pharmacies will start to receive limited doses of the Moderna vaccine. Seniors 70 and older and certain health care workers will be able to make an appointment at one of the participating pharmacies to get the first of the two-shot vaccine.

Governor Edwards said this new “Group 1B” includes about 640,000 people on top of the 250,000 people who are currently eligible.

“As we move forward we won’t turn off priority group 1A and turn on 1B, they will both be operating simultaneously,” said Edwards.

That expanded group of healthcare workers includes schools of allied health students, residents, and staff, home healthcare workers, ambulatory, outpatient, medical, dental, and behavioral health clinic workers.

About 100 pharmacies spread throughout the state will receive Moderna doses, but Edwards said if you’re in Group 1B you’ll have to get an appointment to receive one.

“Importantly no one should show up at a pharmacy without an appointment because that individual will not receive a vaccine regardless of if they were in the priority group,” said Edwards.

They’ll be releasing the names of those pharmacies, along with contact information on the Louisiana Department of Health website Monday.

Edwards warned this is just the beginning of vaccinations for this new group so it may take you a while to get an appointment to receive one. He stressed that the process will take time.

“Not everyone who is in these priority groups is going to be able to get a vaccine next week but we do have an opportunity to get started and that is what we are going to do next week,” said Edwards.

He noted once we receive more vaccines the next group up will be essential workers like teachers and grocery store employees.

(Story written by REBECCA SANTANA/AP & Matt Doyle/Louisiana Radio Network)

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