Thousands of at-risk patients across South Yorkshire missed out on flu jabs at the start of this winter - despite the area having a higher-than-average uptake of vaccines.
New Government figures show over 80,000 pensioners registered with GP surgeries did not have a vaccine between September and November.
But a 70 per cent uptake rate among over-65s in the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw area saw over 190,000 people have a flu jab. Nationally, the number of over-65s getting vaccinated was 68.5 per cent.
Less than half of those under 65 with health conditions that made them ‘at risk’ got flu jabs in the same period.
Of the 171,000 patients in the region who fell into this category, just 78,500 - equivalent to 45 per cent - got a jab. But this was still slightly higher than the national average, with 44.4 per cent of eligible patients getting the treatment.
Fiona Jorden, screening and immunisation lead for NHS England and Public Health England in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, said people with health conditions should look into getting jabs, which will be available to them for free.
She said: “People in ‘at risk’ groups can get the flu vaccine for free from their GP as they are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu, and sadly many end up in hospital.
“This includes people with health conditions, even those that are well managed, such as asthma, diabetes, heart, lung, liver or renal diseases, those with weakened immune systems, as well as older people and pregnant women.”
Since 2013, two and three-year-olds have been eligible for flu vaccination with a newly available nasal spray, and this year the spray is also being offered to children aged four.
Ms Jorden said: “The nasal spray is a quick, easy and painless way to help prevent pre-school age children catching flu and the vaccine also helps to reduce the spread of flu to those who are more vulnerable.”