Written by the MP for Dover and Deal, Kent

Christmas is coming very soon. Now is the time for families and friends to come together and celebrate. We couldn’t really do it right last year.

So make sure that the celebrations are as safe as possible this Christmas and protect yourself and your loved ones by also being fully stimulated and boosted.

The virus has not disappeared. We have proven to be resilient, a leader in vaccine deployment around the world.

This means that we have seen life return to almost normal. The businesses have reopened. We can meet our friends again and travel.

Many thanks to the main health workers who organize and administer the vaccinations. As well as those who have been stung to make sure we are all protected.

But it is clear that we must remain vigilant. Locally reported cases are increasing. The latest Omicron variant discovered in South Africa shows how quickly the virus can change.

Thankfully, jabs appear to be effective against this latest variant – but it highlights how vital it is that everyone continues to receive their Covid jabs and make sure they have their recall as soon as possible.

Anyone 40 years of age or older and people over 16 with certain health conditions can be reminded. Notifications are sent out by the NHS when it’s time to get your jab. So you’ll know when it’s time to go for your own booster jab.

You can book your jab booster online here or you can just walk around the center.

If you still haven’t had your first two jabs and are eligible, please book as soon as possible here and help do your part to control the virus.

There are three local vaccination centers: Whitfield Village Hall, the Clockwork Pharmacy in Deal, and the Dover Health Center.

The local vaccination effort has been incredible. I would like to personally thank all of the doctors, nurses and volunteers in our area for protecting us from the virus.

In particular Dr Julian Mead, Nurse Le-Anne Laing and volunteer Brian Dunne whom I recently met at the Whitfield Village Hall vaccination site, as well as Dr Tuan Nguyen and the superintendent pharmacists, Jitandra Kanjee and Prashant Patel , which have all played a central role in our local vaccine deployment.

I also want to thank everyone in our region who got vaccinated. We all have a big role to play in defeating this virus.

Make sure to get your booster shot this Christmas. This way, you can spend time with your friends and family without having to worry so much about the virus.

It will make all the difference when we gather around the tree or enjoy a hearty Christmas lunch. Last year, Christmas was forced, a time of worry. This year, let’s be thankful for everything we have and stay safe and secure.