WATERLOO -- Waterloo Region's first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic opened for priority groups on Thursday morning.

The clinic, located at 435 The Boardwalk, had its first appointment at 9 a.m. More appointments are scheduled throughout the day.

Adults 80 or over can book appointments at the clinic, followed by people in priority groups in Phase One of Ontario's vaccination rollout plan.

"It's the beginning of a step of being able to get back to normal, we hope," said Lynda Heath, who received the vaccine on Thursday. "We know that isn't the case right away, but hopefully within the next couple months, all our friends will be vaccinated also."

“This is an exciting day and a very significant day for residents, and this is one of many openings right across Waterloo Region,” Regional Chair Karen Redman said in a news release.

An additional clinic in Cambridge is expected to open next week.

“This is a great day for the Region of Waterloo and will help ensure those who want to be vaccinated can do so as quickly as possible,” WRPS Deputy Chief Shirley Hilton said in the release. “Over the next couple of weeks, we will be working to open other sites that are able to administer vaccination doses, which demonstrates the hard work that is going on behind the scenes by everyone involved in the task force. I want to thank all the staff and volunteers who are working tirelessly to ensure these clinics run smoothly and effectively.”

Anyone eligible for the vaccine must pre-register. Public health will then reach out to book an appointment.