The world has woken up to the risk of dramatically higher COVID-19 transmissions due to the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant of concern.
British prime minister Boris Johnson has set a target of getting booster shots into the arms of all adults who want one by the end of December.
"No one should be in any doubt there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming," Johnson said in a televised address on December 12.
He also stated that "two doses of the vaccine are simply not enough to give the level or protection we all need".
"But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose, a booster dose, we can all bring our level of protection back up."
Also on the international front, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has tested positive for COVID-19. The 69-year-old is fully vaccinated. His office did not reveal if he has the omicron variant.
Here in B.C., 10 people have tested positive for the Omicron variant in three health authorities: Vancouver Coastal, Fraser, and Island regions.
The B.C. government is inviting residents to have a booster shot of an mRNA vaccine six months after they received their second shot. (For more information on key priority groups, visit the Ministry of Health website.)
According to the Ministry of Health, there were 2,994 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. as of December 10.
The largest number, 871, is in Fraser Health, followed by Island Health (664), Vancouver Coastal Health (589), Interior Health (575) and Northern Health (243).
Meanwhile, B.C. continues to have a significantly lower COVID-19 fatality rate than all other large provinces in Canada.
At 45.7 deaths per 100,000, B.C. has far fewer deaths per capita than the 134.8 deaths per thousand in Quebec and the 67.9 deaths per thousand in Ontario.
The U.K. recorded its first death from the Omicron variant, according to BBC News.