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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 39

Dr. Chas. Cameron, M.P

Dr. Chas. Cameron, M.P.

From a return laid before the House of Commons on August 14th, 1877 (Table 16), it appears that while in seven years prior to the Vaccination Act the mortality from small-pox in England and Wales amounted to 0.0302 per cent, of the population, in the following 14 years, when vaccination was obligatory, but the obligation, owing to defective machinery, was not enforced, it fell to 0.0189. But in the following eight years, when the defective machinery was rectified, and the national system of vaccination was greatly improved and extended, the mortality rose to 0.0297. page 17 The return concludes with the year 1875, but as since then we have had several most alarming outbreaks of small-pox, the average would hardly be improved if carried down to the end of last year. Now, it is all very well, as has been done, to explain this recrudescence of small-pox mortality by the occurrence of exceptional epidemics; but it seems reasonable to argue that in the course of the 22 years, during which vaccination has been compulsory and over which the return extends, some impression should have been made upon epidemic as well as sporadic smallpox. The recurrence, therefore, in the latest period, of mortality almost as high as that experienced prior to the Vaccination Act, shows, either that the protective virtues of vaccination are mythical, or that there is something radically wrong in our national system of vaccination.—Letter to The Times, Nov. 24th, 1879.