HC Deb 13 May 1925 vol 183 cc1851-2
59. Mr. LEE

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to complaints made at a meeting of the Chesterfield Board of Guardians on Saturday last as to the wholesale vaccination of the inmates of the workhouse, some of the persons being over 80 years of age and ill at the time; if he is aware that several deaths have followed, believed to have been accelerated if not caused by the vaccination; whether the vaccinations took place at the suggestion of the Ministry of Health; whether he will instruct one of his inspectors to attend the inquiry the guardians propose to hold into the matter; and whether the Report of such inquiry can be communicated to this House?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. My right hon. Friend is informed that, on the occurrence of a case of smallpox in a ward occupied by elderly females, 379 of the inmates of the institution, including elderly persons, were offered and accepted vaccination. Forty-eight of the inmates were not vaccinated, either because this was thought to be undesirable on account of their state of health or because they declined. Since the time when the vaccination was carried out, there has been no death in the institution which could be attributed to, or was accelerated by, vaccination. The vaccinations were carried out on the advice of the medical officer of health of the borough, acting within his routine and prescribed duties. In the circumstances my right hon. Friend does not think it is necessary for an inspector of the Ministry to be present at the guardians' inquiry, though he has asked for a report of the proceedings.