§ 55. Mr. Hopkins
asked the Minister of Health whether he is now in a position to announce a further extension of the poliomyelitis vaccine programme.
§ 54. Dr. Stross
asked the Minister of Health whether he will make a statement on his plan to extend the vaccination programme against poliomyelitis to higher age groups.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
Yes, Sir. Having reviewed the progress that has been made in the existing programme of vaccination against poliomyelitis, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have decided that the time has now come for extending it to cover all persons who at the time of their application for vaccination are under 40, and also certain additional special groups. The necessary circulars are being issued today.
§ Mr. Hopkins
While thanking the Minister, may I express the hope that his Answer will give universal satisfaction?
§ Dr. Summerskill
While we all welcome the statement of the Minister, will he tell us something more about the administration? This will call for three injections for each of these healthy adults. There will be a very large number, and it will mean a rather heavy burden on general practitioners. Does the Minister propose to have lunch-time clinics or evening clinics run by local authorities so that the work can be done there?
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The detailed arrangements are for the local health authorities to make. One of the factors I have had in mind is the question of the mechanical work involved, to which the right hon. Lady rightly draws attention, but I am greatly encouraged by the fact that we have now vaccinated nearly 13 million people, more than half of them with three doses. This has meant a great effort on the part of local health authorities and general practitioners. I am sure we can look with confidence to their repeating their success with this extended group.