FREDERICTON -- COVID-19 vaccines are arriving at New Brunswick pharmacies and the first of what's expected to be thousands of shots was given Wednesday afternoon to an 88-year-old woman in Fredericton.

It's the day many have been waiting for and vaccine rollout at pharmacies across the province has renewed hope of an end to the pandemic.

If you're over 85, they are already taking appointments.

"It was very, very easy," said Corrie Hudson, 88, who was the first to roll up her sleeve. "There wasn't as much controversy about it as I thought. I thought it would be a big thing, but it went in just as easy as anything."

It's a second first for New Brunswick pharmacist Ryan Quinn.

"It's quite exciting actually," Quinn said. "I was one of the first pharmacists that was able to do a flu shot. I took the first training course, I think it's been 10 years now, so it's kind of nice to be the first one doing COVID as well."

Pharmacists across the province are preparing for the rollout, alongside managing their already busy daily duties.

"What they're trying to figure out now is just how long does it take to do the work?" said Jake Reid of the Pharmacists Association of New Brunswick. "The vaccine comes in and there's so much work that goes into it. There's inventory management, taking it out of the fridge for the appropriate amount of time, drawing it up, making sure you have all appointments booked for who needs to have an appointment, and of course all the paperwork."

Green Party leader David Coon says his mother will be among those vaccinated Thursday after her regular pharmacy called last week to book her in.

"It's exciting, and I know she's already let me know she's coming to Sunday supper as soon as she can once she's past the 14-day period after the vaccination," Coon said.

But not everyone is celebrating.

Jean-Claude D'Amours, the Liberal MLA for Edmundston-Madawaska Centre.

"The reality is we are very late," said D'Amours. "We just have to compare ourself to other provinces and honestly I cannot imagine how we will be able to vaccinate people 75 and older by the end of this month."

Vaccine rollout for pharmacies throughout the province will be gradual beginning with zones that include Fredericton on Wednesday, Saint John on Thursday, and others by early next week.

More than 200 pharmacies in the province will be participating.