MONTREAL -- Montreal residents 80 and older are now eligible to book appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine under an unscheduled expansion of the vaccination campaign, the regional health board announced Friday.

Previously, only residents on the island aged 85 and older were able to book an appointment to get their first dose of the vaccine. 

“After a day of making appointments for the COVID-19 vaccination in Montreal, we have received the green light from the government to start making appointments for the vaccination of people aged 80 years and over living on the Island of Montreal,” the regional health board said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. 

Residents can book an appointment online by visiting or by calling 1-877-644-4545. 

The announcement comes after a day of frustration for many residents in Montreal who were desperately trying to book an appointment for their elderly parents, but couldn’t get through on the phone. Some also experienced problems booking an appointment online. 

The expansion of eligibility criteria for vaccine doses will come as a relief to many after shipments of several thousand Pfizer doses were delayed last month. According to the province’s plan, the next phase of the mass vaccine roll-out will include people aged 70 to 79, followed by those aged 60 to 69.

On Friday, Quebec reported 815 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 11 deaths in the last 24 hours. As of Friday morning, there were 7,888 active COVID-19 cases in the province, according to the Quebec Institute of Public Health.