HC Deb 14 August 1890 vol 348 cc977-9
DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether it has been reported to him that many parents, who are not opposed to vaccination, object to the use of human lymph with their children, as being attended with risks special to itself, and desire, therefore, to have their children vaccinated with calf lymph, declaring that on no other condition will they submit them to the operation; whether the medical officer of the Local Government Board has declined to admit the right of parents to require at the hands of public vaccinators the use of calf lymph, and has declared that the responsibility for the lymph employed rests not with the parents, but solely with the vaccinator; whether Mr. T. M. Watt, public vaccinator of the Hovingham district of the Malton Union, Yorkshire, has repeatedly applied to the National Vaccine Establishment for calf lymph, and been definitely refused it; whether Mr. Watt has reported that for three months he has thus been prevented from performing his duties as public vaccinator; and whether the President of the Local Government Board will direct that the National Vaccine Establishment furnish public vaccinators with calf lymph when they prefer and require it for performance of their official duties?


Representations have from time to time been made to the Local Government Board as to the cases of parents who desire to have their children vaccinated with calf lymph, on the ground of their objection to the use of human lymph, but such representations have been very exceptional. It is the case that the Medical Officer of the Board, in a letter which he addressed to Mr. Watt, pointed out that the responsibility for the lymph must rest with the Public Vaccinator, and not with the parents. An application which was made by Mr. Watt for calf lymph on April 2nd last was complied with; but on subsequent application for additional lymph, he was referred to a letter addressed to him on the 26th April, in which it was explained that the organisation of the National Vaccine Establishment did not admit of its undertaking to supply either human or calf lymph for the ordinary vaccination of individual children, of whom from half to three quarters of a million required vaccination every year. It has been more than once explained to Mr. Watt that the principle on which the National Vaccine Establishment proceeds in its distribution of lymph, whether to public or private vaccinators, is to furnish each applicant with enough for the performance of a few first vaccinations, and the Establishment expects that the recipient will exert himself to vaccinate in series from the beginning which he is thus enabled to make. Mr. Watt's duties as Public Vaccinator require him to vaccinate half-yearly, namely, in April and October. The Board assume that he is complying with the terms of his contract in not vaccinating in the interval. I do not propose, pending the sitting of the Royal Commission on Vaccination, to make any change in the administration of public vaccination in England and Wales.