HUNDREDS of residents eagerly queued up for a dose of protection in the coming months.

A line of residents snaked from Christ Church hall, in Wickford town centre, to Somerfields car park as they waited for a free flu jab.

Patients at the Robert Frew Medical Centre, in Silva Island Way, could get the vaccine free, provided they were over 65 or had certain medical conditions.

Phillip Brett, 79, and his wife Iris, 80, from Wickford, queued for about 50 minutes.

Mr Brett said: “The surgery has done very well. You expect to wait a little bit.”

Carol Williams, 67, of Church End Lane, Runwell, said: “It’s the first day so you expect it and it is free. I have it every year and there is always a bit of a queue.”

But Malcolm Buckley, Basildon councillor for Wickford Castledon, turned around when he saw the queue and said it showed why Wickford desperately needed more health facilities.