Health chiefs are urging people in Brighton and Hove to take advantage of free flu jabs from their family doctor or local pharmacy.
The vaccine is available for free for a variety of groups including young children, pregnant women and the elderly.
More than 70 people had such a bad bout of flu last year that they ended in hospital in Brighton and Hove.
The Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Having the free flu jab could stop vulnerable people ending up in hospital, or even dying, this winter.
“Last year’s flu season saw 72 people ending up in hospital Brighton and Hove due to flu and there were also a small number of deaths across Sussex as a result of the viral infection.
“The influx of people needing medical care due to flu caused extra strain on hospitals last year and cost the NHS almost £215,000.
“Local doctors believe this could have been avoided had those eligible taken up the opportunity to get their free jab.”
Allison Cannon, the chief nurse officer for local CCGs, said: “Flu is potentially a very serious illness and the flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and help ease pressures on your local NHS.
“Last year around one in four of those eligible in Brighton and Hove did not claim their free flu jab.
“This year residents should be vaccinated as they will be better protected from flu than ever before.
“We hope this improved vaccine will help ease pressures on local health services by leading to fewer avoidable GP appointments, fewer people needing hospital care and fewer deaths from flu.”
The CCG said that those who could fall seriously ill if they contracted flu and could claim a free flu jab included
- All children aged two to 10 on Saturday 31 August
- Anyone from six months to 65 years old in a “clinical risk” group
- Pregnant women
- Over 65s
- People in long-stay residential care homes
The CCG added: “People identified at risk of complications can receive the flu vaccine through their GP and from their local high street pharmacist.
“The childhood vaccination programme uses a flu nasal spray, protecting children and anyone they come into contact with.”
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