HC Deb 21 November 1946 vol 430 cc157-8W
118. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that the decrease in deaths during the last 10 years in scarlet-fever, measles, whooping-cough and chickenpox where no such process as immunisation exists shows as great, and in some cases, greater decline than those from diphtheria, he has any other evidence that the practice of immunisation has been responsible for the continuing decline in deaths from diphtheria.

Mr. Bevan

None of the diseases mentioned has shown the same continuous and steady fall in mortality as diphtheria has shown since extensive immunisation began. But I am advised that these diseases have nothing in common to admit of valid comparison from this standpoint. The effectiveness of diphtheria immunisation is to be found in the behaviour of the disease in children who have been immunised and those who have not, which shows that the chance of its being fatal is at present 26 times greater if the child has not been immunised.