PENSIONERS across Barnsley are being encouraged to ‘get winter strong’ and take up the offer of free vaccines as the weather gets colder.

As well as getting free flu and Covid-19 vaccines, people over 65 are also eligible for a pneumonia vaccine to help protect against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections.

The NHS is also offering a shingles vaccine to healthy people aged 70 to 79 years who have not yet been vaccinated and people aged 50 years and over with a severely weakened immune system.

Healthy people aged 60 to 70 years will become eligible for the vaccine over the next five years, when they turn 65 or 70

Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire, said: “Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves against ill health.

“Last winter, hospitals saw significant numbers of people being treated for viruses like flu and Covid-19 as well as other serious infections, and vaccines are our best defence against this.

“With Covid and flu it is important for those who are eligible to top up their protection, even if they have had a vaccine or been ill with flu or Covid before, as immunity wanes over time and these viruses change each year.

“I had my Covid-19 booster at the weekend and my flu jab a couple of weeks ago.

“The sooner you have your vaccines, the earlier you will be protected so please book when it is offered to you and get winter strong.”