Suffolk's public health director has emphasised the importance of vaccines after the county saw Covid-19 numbers triple in under a month.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk County Council's director of public health, has labelled vaccines a "key tool" in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.

"It is important to remember the reason why Covid isn't necessarily as impactful is because the vast majority of the population are vaccinated", he said.

"If you are unvaccinated or have been offered a booster jab, please go and get it.

"It is one of our key tools against the virus."

Government data released last month found there were 174 cases identified in Suffolk on June 23.

This meant cases had more than trebled from the 57 cases recorded on May 26. The reported totals are likely to be skewed by the lack of free public testing, which ended in April.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 2.3 million Covid-19 infections were recorded across the UK.

Experts believe this rise is being driven by two sub-variants of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5.

Vaccines still offer strong protection against severe illness and new variants are not thought to be any more dangerous.

"We are seeing a pattern of rates going down and then coming back up across the county", said Mr Keeble.

"This is being driven by new variants.

"We will see rates go up over the foreseeable future before they eventually plateau back down again.

"If you have cold-like symptoms, please try to avoid contact with those who are vulnerable and, if possible, working from home and staying at home is the best thing to do."

With autumn and winter on the horizon, many are worried about a further spike in numbers.

"The concern for autumn and winter is that Covid will align with other illnesses.

"This will likely put more pressure on the NHS.

"If offered, people need to ensure they are getting vaccinated for Covid and for things like flu.

"We will be working with health partners to ensure we are doing everything we can to ensure people are protected."

Boosters are still available for the over-75s, care home residents, and those aged 12 and over who have weakened immune systems. It is not yet clear whether there will be an autumn booster programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation currently believes that in autumn 2022, a Covid-19 vaccine should be offered to residents in a care home for older adults and staff; frontline health and social care workers; all those 65 years of age and over; adults aged 16 to 64 years who are in a clinical risk group.