HC Deb 27 July 1914 vol 65 cc943-4W

asked the President of the Local Government Board, with reference to the fact that he is advised that the glycerinated calf lymph supplied by his Department is satisfactory, whether he is aware that during the fifteen years, 1898 to 1912, in which such lymph has been in use in this country the annual Reports of the Registrar-General show that over 300 deaths have been certified as due to cow-pox and other effects of vaccination, whilst many thousands of cases of illness resulting from vaccination with Government lymph have been treated in naval and military hospitals and by private practitioners; and whether he will describe any independent or other bacteriological tests to which the lymph has been submitted, and state the numbers and descriptions of the micro-organisms which have been found on test cultures prepared from it during the past twelve months?


The figures given in the first part of the question as regards deaths are substantially correct: but it is necessary to explain that prior to the year 1911 all deaths, in the certificate for which cow-pox or vaccinia was mentioned, were entered as having been caused by "cow-pox or other effects of vaccination." Arrangements have been in operation for many years whereby every such death is reported to the Local Government Board by the local registrars of deaths, and every such death is made the subject of investigation by a medical inspector of the Board. In every instance careful inquiry is made into the results of vaccination of other infants with lymph of the same origin. No case has been discovered in which serious illness or death has been traceable to or has been caused by the lymph issued from the Government lymph establishment. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative. With respect to the last part, each series of lymph is examined bacteriologically before issue, and only lymph which in the opinion of the Board's expert is found to be satisfactory is issued.