'I hate needles - but this is why I'm having flu jab this year' reveals Doncaster train driver

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David Smith has never liked needles.

So when the Goverment put its annual flu jab campaign out in previous years, he turned his back on the offer.

This year, he has changing his mind – like hundreds in Doncaster.

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David Smith, pictured.David Smith, pictured.
David Smith, pictured.

But still less than half those aged under 65 who are ‘clinically at risk’ have had the jabs this year, Doncaster officials warn.

While more than 80 per cent of pensioners have answered a call to the injections, only 44.7 per cent of ‘clinically at risk’ under 65s have been immunised.

Officials are trying to roll out flu jabs to reduce pressure on hospital wards this winter with Covid 19 still a major problem.

They have seen an increase in uptake.

Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning Group said figures for the week commencing November 16 showed a rise to 44.7 per cent among clinically at risk patients aged six months to 64 years, based on 37 GP practices’ data, up from 32.2 per cent in 2019.

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For over 65s, the 80.9 per cent uptake was up from 66.1 per cent for last year.

Mr Smith, a 61-year-old former train driver from Bentley, has a respiratory condition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and has been isolating.

This year he decided it was important to have the jab.

He said: “I don’t like needles.

"But I had to have some blood tests because of my age. They said while you’re here, would you like a flu injection? They said they’d book me in for the next day, but they didn’t have any appointments the next day. They said ‘do you want it now’? So I said yes.

"While they were taking blood from my right arm, I had the jab in my left arm – they gave me the injection and I never even noticed it happen. That was at the Nelson practice on Amersall Road. They were great.

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“I was extra keen to get it this year because I don’t want it at the same time as the coronavirus is an issue.”

The uptake is also up among young children. For two year olds it is up to 43.6 per cent from 15.3 per cent last year. For three year olds it is up from 45.8 per cent to 16.3 per cent.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.