§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, East)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board, whether he is aware that the entries in the medical officer's book at St. Pancras Workhouse show that between 1st January and 22nd February, 1899, there were vaccinated in the workhouse, three children eight days old, one child 11 days old, one child 12 days old, three children 13 days old, one child 16 days old, one child 18 days old, and one child 23 days old; and, whether, considering that this vaccination of infants of from one to three weeks of age is contrary to the intention of the Second Schedule to the Vaccination Order of 18th October, which prescribes that the offer to vaccinate shall be made when the child is two months old, and that the Royal Commission condemned the practice of premature vaccination, he will direct the St. Pancras medical officer to discontinue this practice.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. H. CHAPLIN, Lincs., Sleaford)
I find that the facts are as stated in the first paragraph, of the Question. The Medical Officer states, however, that in every case the parent specially requested the vaccination of the child, and that no compulsion, persuasion, advice or offer was resorted to. He adds that all the cases referred to have been satisfactorily protected from small-pox, and have suffered no complications whatever. There is nothing inconsistent either with the Vaccination Act, 645 1898, or the Vaccination Order, in a child being vaccinated at an early age if the parent desires it, nor as far as I know is there any power to prevent it.
§ MR. CHANNING
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board, whether his attention has been called to the vaccination, in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, of the infant child, Humphrey, of Mrs. George Forbigger, of 21, Belgrave Road, Cambridge, when only two days old, although the child was suffering from eczema when he and his mother were discharged on 11th February, and to the fact that the disease has since become so serious that the child has been in hospital; whether he is aware that the subscribers' letters securing admission to Queen Charlotte's Hospital still contain a stipulation that the child must be vaccinated before the mother leaves, that is within If days; whether the hospital authorities now hand or show to patients any notice that parents cannot, under the Act passed last year, be compelled to have their children vaccinated under six months: and, whether he will take immediate steps to secure, in Queen Charlotte's Hospital and similar institutions, a strict observance of the provisions of the Act?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
I have caused inquiry to be made as to this case and find that a child named Humphrey Terheggen was vaccinated at Queen Charlotte's Hospital as stated, the child being in perfect health at the time. On the eighth day after vaccination a single small pustule had appeared on the child's hand, and 28 days after vaccination the child was admitted into Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, suffering from a very common form of infantile eczema, from which it has now almost recovered. The course of the vaccination was throughout quite normal, and during the child's stay in Queen Charlotte's Hospital it steadily gained weight. There is no statement on the subscribers' letters as to vaccination, but it is definitely pointed out on the "Order of Admission" that vaccination will not be performed if objection is made 646 by the parent. I have no information as to any notices prepared by the hospital authorities as to the terms of the Vaccination Act, 1898, neither is there any obligation on their part to issue any notices as to the Act, but I am in communication with the Guardians of the Parish of St. Marylebone and with the Vaccinator at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, and I am calling their attention to the provisions of the Act in reference to the vaccination of children in that Institution, and to the age at which vaccination is required by the Act.
§ MR. CHANNING
Do I understand that the right honourable Gentleman is addressing representations to the hospital authorities in order to discourage these early vaccinations as to which he expressed a very strong opinion last Session?