London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Battersea 1896

Report upon the public health and sanitary condition of the Parish of St. Mary, Battersea during the year1896

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regarded by a parent with abhorrence. We think, therefore, that
parents should not be required to submit their children to
vaccination by means of any but calf-lymph, but this should not
preclude the use of humanized lymph in case they so desire.
So long as the State, with a view to the public interest,
compels the vaccination of children, so long even as it employs
public money in promoting and encouraging the practice, we
think it is under an obligation to provide that the means of
obtaining calf-lymph for the purpose of vaccination should be
within reach of all. We have no hesitation, therefore, in recommending
that steps should be taken to secure this result. Whether
the duty of providing calf-lymph should be undertaken by the
Local Goverment Boards in the several parts of the United Kingdom,
or whether some other method would be more advantageous,
can be better determined by those who have had practical
acquaintance with the working of the vaccination laws.
In connexion with this subject, our attention has been drawn
to the experiments recently made by Dr. Copeman as to the effect
of the storage of vaccine lymph in glycerine. The conclusions at
which he arrives are that the addition of glycerine, whilst it leaves
the efficacy of the lymph undiminished or even increases it, tends
to destroy other organisms. If it be the fact that the efficacy of
the lymph remains unimpaired, its storage in glycerine would
largely diminish the difficulties connected with the use of calflymph,
which are inseparable from calf to arm vaccination. The
investigation has not yet reached a point at which it is possible to
pronounce with certainty whether the anticipated results would be
obtained. And it was at one time suggested that the introduction
of glycerine was likely to be mischievous. The question is one a
further investigation of which is obviously desirable.
If lymph is to be preserved in glycerine, due care would be
requisite to ensure its purity and the absence of contamination in
its introduction. We think that, whether mixed with glycerine
or not, each tube should contain only sufficient lymph for the
vaccination of one person.

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