RESIDENTS are being encouraged to take up the offer of a free pneumococcal vaccine to help protect against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections.

Pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium and can sometimes lead to pneumonia, meningitis and blood poisoning, also known as sepsis.

Anyone can get a pneumococcal infection but some individuals are at higher risk of serious illness, so it's recommended those individuals are given the pneumococcal vaccination on the NHS.

People at higher risk are adults aged 65 or over, children and adults with certain long-term health conditions.

Dr David Crichton, NHS South Yorkshire chief medical officer and local GP, said: “Please do come forward when you are invited for your pneumonia vaccine to ensure you are protected.

“People aged 65 and over only need a single vaccination, it’s not given annually like the flu jab.

“However, if you have an underlying health condition, you may need booster doses every five years.”