HC Deb 14 August 1883 vol 283 c467

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it has come to his knowledge that sixty-eight recruits were vaccinated at Dortrecht, in Holland, on the 25th of May last, of whom eight were found to be seriously injured, three having subsequently died; whether the fact of these injuries and fatalities was subsequently brought to the attention of the Netherlands Parliament, and a circular issued by Mr. Weitzel, the Minister of War, notifying recruits that vaccination was not to be considered obligatory, but optional; whether it is his intention to abolish or modify the Military regulation, enjoining the vaccination of recruits and the periodical re-vaccination of soldiers in the English Army; and, if he will state by what authority the Secretary of State is empowered to compel recruits to submit to vaccination against their will?


Sir, the alleged occurrences in Holland have not been brought to the notice of the War Office; but I will cause inquiry to be made through the Foreign Office. There is no intention of abolishing or modifying the system of vaccinating or re-vaccinating recruits, which has acted most successfully in protecting soldiers from small-pox, and against which system the recruits, so far as is known, have offered no objection. The Regulation for the vaccination or re-vaccination of recruits is contained in the Medical Regulations of the Army, which are issued under the authority of the Secretary of State.