FREDERICTON -- New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said he didn't even feel the needle enter his arm as he got his first shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.

"You mean it's all over?" he asked licensed practical nurse Brenda Tree. "Wow. Very good."

Higgs was among about 200 people over the age of 55 who were offered the vaccine at a clinic in Fredericton. Many of the doses had originally been destined for teachers until earlier this week, when the National Advisory Committee on Immunization advised not giving that vaccine to people under 55.

In rare cases, some people have developed blood clots after getting vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but there have been no such cases reported in Canada.

"I've said repeatedly about any vaccine is what we need to have available. We need to make use of it and when I had the opportunity today I made use of it," Higgs told reporters.

Many of the unused AstraZeneca doses in New Brunswick had an expiry date of April 2, so the government set up several clinics to avoid them going to waste. "We want to make sure everyone gets their vaccine," Higgs said. "We don't want any lost or unused. Turnout today has been good."

Higgs said if he was going to advise people to get the vaccine, he had to be comfortable getting one himself.

"Everyone is tired of COVID and we want to get opened up to the rest of the country," Higgs said. "We can't do that unless we get vaccinated up to the 75 per cent level."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2021.