KITCHENER -- Local doctors in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph are stepping in to speed up vaccinations.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health was one of six units provincewide that received a shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine for family practitioners to administer.

“It felt almost like you’re Willy Wonka and you get the golden ticket,” said Dr. Joan Chan, speaking from her Guelph office. “How do you say no to having the vaccine for patients in our community?”

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph’s Medical Officer of Health says 41 primary care offices within the public health unit are helping with the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout.

“We had a total of 4,500 doses delivered to our area for distribution through primary care,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer.

A shipment of the vaccine arrived to Dr. Chan’s office on Thursday. Chan says her office emailed eligible patients, who responded within minutes.

“We sent it out and we were watching the online clinic, within minutes, the spots were already starting to get filled up,” said Chan.

Her office is setting up a vaccine clinic for Saturday and Sunday to get shots into the arms of her patients.

Chan said the Ministry of Health advised the vaccine was supposed to be for people between the ages of 60 and 64, but added that patients with certain high risk medical conditions could also be considered.

“We knew we were going to get 150 doses and we had 470 people who were eligible based on age."

Chan says the demand within her practice is high and the office is also handling a wait list for possible cancellations and left over vaccines.

“Our plan is to give as many doses as we can this weekend," she said. “There is timeline once you start a vial, you need to give it within 48 hours."

Chan says getting the vaccine at a family doctor’s office may be more comfortable for patients with special needs, mobility limitations or mental health concerns, like those who are uncomfortable in larger and less private settings.