VANCOUVER -- The first batch of COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in B.C. and the initial dose was administered to a health-care worker on Tuesday.

The recipient is 64-year-old Nisha Yunus, who has been a residential care aide at Vancouver General Hospital for 41 years. She did not provide an interview after receiving her first dose of Pfizer's vaccine.

Approximately 4,000 doses arrived in the province late Sunday night, the province's top doctor said during her COVID-19 briefing Monday.

The first batch is being given to Lower Mainland health-care workers who work in long-term care homes and other health-care workers essential to the COVID-19 response, Dr. Bonnie Henry explained last week.

"We know the lives that are being taken and affected most are seniors and elders in long-term care and assisted living," she said when the health ministry first outlined its vaccine distribution plan. "In addition, we have to protect our strained health-care system so all of us can get the care we need, when we need it."

By next week, vaccine doses are expected to be delivered weekly to all health authorities it the province.

Photos of the Pfizer-BioNTech shipment arriving show cases being carefully handled and placed in a freezer. Health officials have previously said the vaccine needs to be kept at extreme sub-zero temperatures, which is one of the most significant challenges for distributing it.

"I can't tell you how exciting this is to know that this start of this new phase of being able to protect people is beginning here in B.C., and in Canada," Henry said Monday. "I'm really looking forward to seeing the first vaccines go into the arms of health-care workers here in B.C."

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel

COVID-19 vaccine B.C.

COVID-19 vaccine B.C.

B.C. COVID-19 vaccine