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

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Kensington 1887

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Kensington]

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children," a clear indication of the greater success with which
the law of compulsory vaccination is now carried out.
Animal Vaccination; Calf Lymph.— An objection to
"arm to-arm" vaccination is based on the fact that, as the
lymph is passed through the human system, it may become the
means of transmitting enthetic disease. This danger, however,
though by no means to be disregarded, appears to be slight, and
in practice almost inappreciable, seeing that Dr. Buchanan
states that he "cannot learn of communication of syphilis in
vaccination being actually effected once in a million of vaccinations."
Nevertheless, and it being desirable to remove every
impediment to the full acceptance of vaccination, it would be
satisfactory to know that the Local Government Board had made
arrangements for affording to parents the option of having their
children vaccinated with calf-lymph at the public vaccination
stations.* The Government at present only supplies medical
practitioners with "stock" lymph from the calf to enable them
to start a series of vaccinations. The use of calf-lymph is
common on the continent, and the system of animal vaccination
has been carried to great perfection at Brussels, whence
regular supplies of lymph are forwarded to this country,
tubes and charged ivory points being procurable at a
moderate price. Stations, moreover, public and private,
have been established in London at which persons can
be vaccinated direct from the calf. This direct vaccination is
highly successful at the Government Stations, an average of 988
vesicles resulting from 1,000 insertions of calf-lymph. "This
rate of success," Dr. Buchanan observes, "is nowise to be had
when the lymph" (human or animal) "is used in any preserved
condition." Preserved lymph, indeed, is said to be attended
with perfectly successful results, in the Army Medical Department,
in only 40 per cent. of cases; in 34 per cent. failure is
* This option will henceforth be given at the Vaccination Stations in
Kensington, the Guardians having made arrangements for a supply of
fresh calf-lymph weekly, on the days appointed for Vaccination.

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