B.C.'s health ministry says it's ahead of schedule with its booster shot distribution.
In November, people most at risk were the first to be offered a third dose. In an emailed statement to Glacier Media, the ministry says starting in January, more age groups will become eligible.
"Starting in January 2022, people 18 years and older in B.C. will get a booking invitation between six to eight months after the date of their second dose. Our plan for boosters is to move through the age-based cohorts as quickly as possible over the next several months," the statement says.
Six months ago, 497,932 second doses have been administered in the province. The ministry says 589,595 booster shots have been given to date.
"We are well ahead of this schedule," the ministry spokesperson said.
For those who have questions or don't know if they're registered with the Get Vaccinated system, the province says to call 1-833-838-2323, seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
As of publication, of the 223,142 people known to have contracted the disease in B.C., 217,705 are thought to have recovered.
The B.C. government usually considers COVID-19 patients to have recovered if they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms; at that point, they're deemed to no longer be infectious. Some patients, however, continue to have health problems for months after their recoveries.
Despite the recent steady decline in the number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals, Health Minister Adrian Dix stressed last week that the province's hospitals were "extremely busy."
New daily case counts have been holding relatively steady, with 415 on Dec. 11, 365 on Dec. 12, and 349 in the past 24 hours.
In total, 9,806 of B.C.'s 12,310 hospital beds were filled at the time, he said.
The province has 11,582 beds in what it calls "acute care," which includes most patients' needs. Of those, 9.330 beds are filled, Dix said last week.
With files from Glen Korstrom, Business in Vancouver