CORONAVIRUS-related hospital admissions have dropped at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) a year on from the start of the vaccine rollout, figures show.

However, the government is urging caution amid uncertainty over the impact that the newly discovered Omicron variant will have on the number of new coronavirus cases, as hospitals also deal with winter pressures.

More than 400 cases of the new variant have now been identified across the UK, but the Government cannot "say for certain" whether it will escape Covid vaccines, or how severe a disease it will cause.

NHS England data shows 229 people were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 or were diagnosed in hospital with coronavirus for the first time at SaTH between November 1 and November 28 – the latest available data.

This was eight per cent fewer than 250 in the same period in 2020, just before the vaccine rollout began and England was in its second full lockdown.

Across England, 19,000 people were admitted or diagnosed with Covid for the first time in hospital in November – a 48 per cent decrease compared to the same month in 2020.

In response to the emergence of the Omicron variant, the Government is expanding the booster programme to all over-18s as well as halving the gap between doses.

Although it is not yet known whether existing vaccines are less effective against the Omicron variant, the Department for Health and Social Care said it is unlikely they offer no effectiveness against serious disease.

Professor Mark Woolhouse, member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, said coronavirus jabs have worked well so far.

He said: "Against the Delta variant, which is a different variant, the booster vaccinations have turned out to be very effective – well into the 90% protection against infection, but also against disease and putting people in hospital.

"So even if the vaccines were slightly less effective against Omicron they would still be very good."