WATCH: History made as first COVID-19 vaccine is given to health care staff in Toronto
A personal support worker, Anita Quidangen of Toronto, became the first person in Ontario to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Monday afternoon, marking a historic day in Canada's fight against the pandemic.
Quidangen, who works at the Toronto nursing home Rekai Centre, was one of five health care workers to receive the vaccine at University Health Network in Toronto, after the first batch of the two-dose Pfizer vaccines arrived in Hamilton last night.
The other four were fellow PSWs Derek Thompson and Cecile Lasco, as well as nurses Colette Cameron and Lucky Aguila.
"We have been waiting for this for so long, and I'm here now and I'm so thankful," Lasco said.
University Health Network President Dr. Kevin Smith said it's been a long road to get here.
"Less than a year ago, no one believed it would be possible to get this vaccine out," he said. "Here we are today, breaking the back of this horrible virus."
Premier Doug Ford called it a watershed moment.
"Make no mistake, there's a long road ahead of us, but what this represents is hope and proof that this pandemic will come to an end," Ford said. "God bless Anita and the other health care heroes and God bless the people of Ontario."
Ontario and Canada's first vaccinations are actually ahead of schedule, as Ret. Gen. Rick Hillier, the man leading Ontario's vaccination rollout, said he expected the first shots to be administered Tuesday.
After they arrvied in Hamilton, they were dispatched to Toronto and Ottawa, which led to the first vaccinations.
The first shipment of vaccinations is made up of 6,000 doses, split between the cities.
Because they are two-dose vaccines, recipients will receive their second dose 21 days later.
Hillier said last week by the end of December, another 90,000 of the Pfizer vaccines should arrive in the province and pending Health Canada approval, another 35,000 - 85,000 of the Moderna vaccine should arrive as well.
The Public Health Agency of Canada released updated models last week, saying it expects general vaccination to begin by April and by September, there should be enough capacity to have every single Canadian vaccinated.
NOTE: A previous version of this story said Quidangen was the first to get vaccinated in Canada. The first in Canada was Gisèle Lévesque of Quebec City.