More than a third of free flu jabs missed last year in the East Riding

Doctors are urging people to protect themselves from the flu. Photo: PA Images
Doctors are urging people to protect themselves from the flu. Photo: PA Images

More than a third of the people eligible for free flu vaccines in the East Riding Of Yorkshire did not take them up last winter, new figures show.

England’s top doctors are urging people to protect themselves and their families from flu amid warnings that new cases may peak over the busy Christmas period.

NHS England data shows that 128,448 people were eligible for free flu vaccines in the East Riding last winter – but only 63% of them had one.

The low rate meant 47,392 vulnerable people were left unprotected in the area through the key winter months.

While the flu virus can be unpleasant for anyone, if sufferers are otherwise healthy it usually clears up without treatment within a week.

However, for certain groups of people, such as the elderly, the very young, pregnant women and people with other health conditions, it can be serious and even cause death.

The figures show that toddlers were much less likely to have had the jab than their older neighbours in the East Riding, with parents taking only 44% of two year olds and 47% of children aged three for the vaccinations.

Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS’s national medical director, said: “It’s good to see that more people over the age of 65 have already got their jab.

“For older people and those with underlying health conditions, getting flu is particularly bad news because it can lead to really serious conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis, which can mean a lengthy stay in hospital.”