In 1956 when the Minister of Health embarked on the scheme for Poliomyelitis
immunisation he decided that the children who would be eligible to receive the vaccine
would be those born between 1954 and 1947 inclusive. It was estimated that in Dagenham
there were 8,380 school children and 6,219 children under the age of 5 coming
within these groups, giving a total of 14,599. Consents were received for 2,220 children
under the age of 5 and 3,896 in the other age groups, making a total of 6,116.
Immunisation was carried out during May and June of 1956 when 593 children
who were selected by the Ministry were immunised, and a further 72 later on in the
year as immunisation was suspended during the summer months. It was resumed in
March of this year and by the end of the year 3,532 children had been immunised by
officers of my department and 1,243 by general practitioners, making a total of 4,775.
Since the beginning of the scheme a total of 5,440 children have been immunised.
The system we have operated since vaccination was resumed this year was to start
with the younger children, i.e., those born in 1954, but towards the end of the year
vaccination was offered to all age groups.
It will be remembered that the original intention of the Ministry of Health was to
immunise children with the Salk vaccine, but because of one or two mishaps in
America it was decided that we would develop our own vaccine which is subject to more
stringent tests and which does not contain the virulent Mahoney strain of killed virus
contained in the American vaccine. Up to the end of 1957 only British vaccine was
offered for immunisation.
During the year there were 10 cases of poliomyelitis notified to the department.
Five of these were paralytic and five non-paralytic and their ages ranged from 2 years to
61. Unfortunately, one boy of 12 who was notified as suffering from poliomyelitis in
1956 died in January 1957.
Total acceptors since commencement of scheme 12,433
Total complete courses since commencement of scheme 5,440
Immunisation By Medical Officers By General Practitioners Total
1957 3,532 1,263 4,775