HC Deb 21 April 1953 vol 514 cc787-9
14. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will extend the use of B.C.G. vaccination to include school-leavers.

Commander Galbraith

My right hon. Friend proposes in the near future to issue advice to all local health authorities on the extension of B.C.G. vaccination to children about to leave school.

Mr. Rankin

May I thank the Joint Under-Secretary for that answer, which I am sure will be very helpful in combating the spread of T.B.?

Mr. Woodburn

Are we to take it from that answer that the Department is now satisfied that B.C.G. is effective and that the scientists advising his hon. Friend are satisfied that it is quite safe and reliable as a preventive for tuberculosis?

Commander Galbraith

I would not go so far as that, but we believe that trials are far enough advanced to enable a general extension to school leavers.

Sir H. Williams

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend inform the House now what B.C.G. really means?

Mr. Ross

Is it not the case that about 4,000 school-leavers last year were vaccinated with B.C.G., and can he tell us in which areas this original experiment was made?

Commander Galbraith

I cannot give detailed information on that point, but I can tell the hon. Member that 14 out of the 55 local authorities in Scotland have already been specially authorised to provide vaccination for school-leavers.

Mr. Rankin

Is it not the case that most of those medical officers who have made a special study of tuberculosis are quite agreed that B.C.G. is an effective preventive and does no harm to those who are vaccinated with it?

Commander Galbraith

I should not like to give a categorical answer to that, but the hon. Gentleman will realise that we are satisfied that it is a good thing to go ahead with.

15. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he proposes to take the steps necessary to ensure that B.C.G. vaccine will be manufactured in Scotland.

Commander Galbraith

As there is no difficulty in getting adequate and satisfactory supplies of vaccine from abroad, it has not so far been considered justifiable to incur expenditure on manufacture in Scotland.

Mr. Rankin

In view of the importance of this vaccine, is it not unfortunate that we should be wholly dependent on imports in order to meet the demand which the Minister proposes to place upon the service?

Commander Galbraith

At the moment it is costing about £600 a year. We consider that the establishment of manufacturing facilities would involve the expenditure of several thousand pounds a year in addition to the capital outlay. Over and above that, we are also aware of the fact that one of the biggest manufacturers in this field in this country would undertake production of the vaccine at short notice.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Could my hon. Friend say whether B.C.G. vaccine is an anti-tuberculosis vaccine?

Commander Galbraith


Mr. Snow

Would the right hon. and gallant Gentleman care to call for a report which was lodged with the Ministry, of Health in 1946 on the subject and, more specifically, bearing in mind the similarity between certain parts of Sweden and Scotland, will he observe the comments of Professor Wallgren of Stockholm, who has very interesting remarks on the use of this vaccine?