HC Deb 09 February 1899 vol 66 cc337-9
MR. BARTLEY (Islington, North)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, whether his attention has been drawn to the largely increasing number of children who are not now protected from smallpox by vaccination; and, whether he proposes to take any action in the matter this Session in the interests of the health of the country, and especially to prevent a spread of smallpox by the increasing number of unvaccinated children in elementary schools?


My right honourable Friend has asked me to answer this Question, but there are no returns or information to warrant the assumption which apparently underlies it, that since the passing of the Act of last year the number of children not protected by vaccination is largely increasing. What is shown by such returns as are in the possession of the Local Government Board is as follows:—Begining with 1885, so as to take account of all children who, being under 14 years of age, fall within the provisions of the Vaccination Acts, it appears that of the children born the total number remaining unvaccinated has been steadily increasing year by year, from 136,000 in 1885 to an estimated number of 370,000 in 1898. Over 12½ million births were registered during that period, and the total number of children not vaccinated (including those who have died early) reached 3,235,000. Out of this last number certificates of conscientious objection were only granted in respect of less than 239,000 children up to the end of last year. On the other hand, I may mention that since the 1st of January when the Act came into full operation the demands on the Local Government Board for the new glycerinated calf lymph have been so great that a large increase in the staff engaged in its production and distribution has become necessary. That, I think, may be regarded as a satisfactory indication which gives some ground for the hope that vaccination is now on the increase as compared with recent years. But as the Act only came into full operation six weeks ago I have no sufficient information to enable me to form any confident opinion as to its working, or to justify any proposal for a modification in the Vaccination Law, during the present Session, as suggested by my honourable Friend.


Arising out of that Question, Sir, I would like to ask the right honourable Gentleman, if he is aware that the Admiralty have recently made it practically compulsory for all the children of the Royal Marines to be vaccinated; and, why the civil population in this country should not be as effectively protected from smallpox as the Naval or Military?

MR. COGHILL (Stoke-on-Trent)

asked whether, in view of the farce to which the Vaccination Act had been reduced, the President of the Local Government Board would take the earliest opportunity of repealing Section 2.

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