HC Deb 06 February 1913 vol 48 cc53-4W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the Statistical Report of the health of the Navy for 1911 shows that 845 cases of cowpox were recorded, of which the Home station contributes the majority, 714, mainly from the training establishments and depôts; whether he is aware that the knowledge that vaccination or revaccination, with its attendant risks, has to be undergone by those who join the Navy is not calculated to popularise the Service; and whether, in view of the proof of the amount of illness amongst sailors which is caused by vaccination, he is now prepared to recommend that a conscientious objection to the operation should be respected?


The facts are as stated by my hon. Friend in the first part of the question. These cases were generally of a very mild type, no subsequent ill-effect to any individual being reported. Medical officers exercise great care to prevent any risks from the operation; and I may say that cases of slight inflammation of the upper arm—which in civil life would, generally speaking, not hinder a man from working—are, in the Royal Navy, placed on the sick list. Before entry into the Service a man is required to express his willingness to be vaccinated, and I cannot undertake to recommend any relaxation of the regulations on the subject.