HALIFAX -- A nurse in Cape Breton became the first person in Nova Scotia outside of Halifax to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday morning.

The first shot given in the Eastern Zone was administered Monday morning at Cape Breton Regional Hospital. 

The first vaccination went to Darlene White, a Licensed Practical Nurse in the hospital’s COVID-19 unit.

“It is exciting,” said White. “Hopefully we’re going to get back to I guess what we call the new normal. I don’t think we’ll ever be back to what we were in past years, but I think this is the first step.”

“Absolutely elated,” added Irenee Campbell, an emergency room nurse at Cape Breton Regional Hospital. “We’re very thrilled to have had this opportunity today, and we’re very excited that the vaccine has made it to Cape Breton which means frontline staff will now be protected, and soon after all of Cape Breton will have the opportunity to be protected against COVID.”

Vaccination clinics at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital each received 1,950 doses of vaccine last week.

Another 2,925 doses are being shipped this week to the Colchester East Hants Health Centre with a clinic to begin there next Monday.

Long-term care residents in the province will also begin receiving the vaccine Monday, with the first doses being administered at Northwood’s Halifax campus, where 53 of the province's 65 pandemic-linked deaths occurred.

Seventy-seven-year-old Ann Hicks and 85-year-old Audrey Wiseman were among the first residents at the Northwood facility to receive shots of the Moderna vaccine on Monday.

The province has reserved 3,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine for three long-term care facilities, Northwood, Shannex Parkstone and Ocean View Continuing Care Centre.

Last week the province said that it expected to receive a combined total of 140,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines by the end of March -- enough to immunize 75,000 people during the first phase of its immunization plan.

The province received a combined 9,550 doses in December, with 2,720 doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered to front line health workers in the Halifax area and another 2,720 reserved for a second dose, while 3,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine were reserved for long-term care facilities.

The first vaccines were administered in Nova Scotia on Dec. 16, with Danielle Sheaves, a nurse who works in a COVID unit at the Halifax Infirmary, the first to receive the PFizer-BioNTech vaccine in the province.

With files from the Canadian Press.