Getting a booster vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

That’s the advice of Dr Magda Smith, chief medical officer at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT), which runs Queen’s and King George hospitals.

Covid-19 patients at the facilities in Romford and Goodmayes have been rising in recent weeks.

In response to warnings that the NHS could be overwhelmed by the new Omicron variant, the government last week announced new restrictions and on Sunday (December 12) prime minister Boris Johnson set a target to give booster vaccines to all adults who want one by the end of the month.

Dr Magda Smith urged everyone in the region to get jabbed.

She told the Recorder: “The most important thing we can all do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from any variant of Covid-19 is to have our jab and ensure we get our booster vaccine.

“The vast majority of Covid patients we see in critical care have not been fully vaccinated so I cannot stress how important this is.”

Havering is currently among the most well-vaccinated London boroughs, with 42pc of the eligible population fully jabbed.

According to the latest data, there is one confirmed case of the new variant in the borough and 22 suspected cases.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday (December 13) told MPs that the highest number of jabs delivered across the UK in a single day had been 840,000.

He said to meet the government’s target they would “not only need to match that but we will need to beat that every day”.

In his TV statement on Sunday, Mr Johnson said: “A wave of Omicron through a population that was not boosted would risk a level of hospitalisation that could overwhelm our NHS and lead sadly to very many deaths."

BHRUT’s critical care units have already been reaching capacity in recent weeks – according to figures released on Thursday, December 9, critical care occupancy rates at its two hospitals were 100 per cent.

The trust has stressed that these rates vary from hour-to-hour and noted that there are plans in place to increase critical care capacity, if necessary, during the winter.

Read more: Where to get lateral flow tests in Romford amid online delivery backlog