HC Deb 18 February 1920 vol 125 cc918-9W

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that more than half the children born at the present time are withheld from vaccination; whether under the present Vaccination Acts the proportion of un-vaccinated children of each year's births is steadily increasing; whether nearly 40 per cent. of the births each year are exempted from vaccination by the statutory declaration of their parents of objection to the operation; and in what way would the health of the community be involved by the repeal of the compulsory clauses of the Vaccination Acts, seeing that under present conditions such a large number of children remain unvaccinated, while small-pox is less prevalent than in the years when a far larger proportion of children were vaccinated?


The facts are approximately as stated in the first part of the question. I am, however, of opinion that the repeal of the compulsory clauses of the Vaccination Acts would result in a still larger proportion of children remaining unvaccinated and thus the whole community would be less protected. Small-pox is prevalent at the present time in various parts of Europe, Canada and America, and in view of the risks of the introduction of the disease into this country, I am not prepared to take any action which would tend to increase the number of persons in this country who are unprotected by vaccination.

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