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

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Woolwich 1901

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Woolwich]

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13. Vaccination of Contacts. Immediate steps were taken
to procure revaccination of all contacts. The public
vaccinators were communicated with directly and the
vaccination officer was also informed in order that he
might visit neighbouring houses and discover any unvaccinated
The contacts were usually vaccinated within 24 hours of the
receipt of the notification. Bills were distributed to every
house recommending re-vaccination, with the result that about
13,000 persons were re-vaccinated from October, 1901 to May,
1902; about 10,500 of these were done by the public
The total cost of vaccination in the Woolwich Poor Law
Union in the year ending Lady Day, 1902, was ,£1,385 3s. 7d.
Vaccination and its Opponents. There is probably more
ample proof of the fact that vaccination protects against
Small-pox than of any other similar fact in the realm of
curative and preventive medicine.
The exceptions to the law of protection present no greater
difficulty than the exceptions to the law of gravitation.
The suggestion has been made that the general practice of
vaccination was a means of inoculating syphilis wholesale.
Without staying to question the morality of publishing such
a statement it need only be pointed out that since vaccination
has become general, syphilis in women and children has
diminished, and among the women and children of the upper
classes who are far more thoroughly vaccinated than the lower
classes it is of the rarest occurrence. Every effort is used by
the Government to secure that their lymph is free from

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