HC Deb 07 November 1921 vol 148 cc74-5W

asked the Minister of Health whether a letter was sent from his Department on the 20th of September to the medical officer of the Bedford Rural District Council stating that the case of a boy who was diagnosed by the medical officer and by the medical man in charge of the case at the hospital as small-pox was not officially a case of small-pox, as he had been successfully vaccinated; whether there are large numbers of cases of small-pox on record in which successful vaccination had been performed either prior to or subsequent to infection by small-pox; and whether he justifies this action of a medical officer on his Department in refusing to accept the diagnosis of two local doctors, solely on the ground that successful vaccination had been performed?


The answer to the first two parts of the question of the hon. Member is in the affirmative; in regard to the third part of the question all the facts of the case have been taken into consideration. The case to which the hon. Member refers is that of a patient who was successfully vaccinated by his doctor ten days after the appearance of an eruption suspected to be small-pox. The medical officer of the Ministry who saw the patient in consultation with the local doctors advised them that, although there was originally reasonable cause to regard and treat this case as provisionally one of small-pox, the subsequent successful vaccination differentiated it from those cases which it would be proper to enter in the official small-pox register. With this recommendation my medical advisers are in complete agreement. I am advised that, although vaccination can be performed successfully at any time during the greater part of the period of incubation of small-pox, immunity to vaccination develops rapidly after the onset of illness, and after the efflorescence is completed the patient is wholly insusceptible to vaccinia.