This section is from the book "Health", by W. H. Coefield.
I am glad to find that this matter has been lately investigated by a Board of Guardians in a part of the country which has been noted for its opposition to vaccination ; I will read you the account given in the Local Government Chronicle of April 14th (1877).
In consequence of assertions made by the anti-vaccination agitators of this part of Yorkshire, the Skipton Board of Guardians, about two months ago, appointed a committee, composed partly of guardians opposed to vaccination, to inquire into certain alleged cases of injury from vaccination, which the opposing parly of the board were in the habit of referring to as an argument against vaccination. After much deliberation the members of the committee have drawn up a report in which they state the result of their investigation. To facilitate the investigation, advertisements were inserted in the local papers, asking individuals for information of supposed injury from vaccination. In reply, thirteen cases were adduced, but the report states that they were greatly exaggerated, and the majority of them were reported by persons not related to the sufferers. Except in one case of rash, in respect of which the physician consulted could not positively say that all the symptoms were owing to vaccination, the committee have come to the conclusion that no person reported to them has suffered in consequence of vaccination. Four cases looked very strong from the reports, but upon investigation it was found that in two instances the ailment was not complained of until two years after re-vaccination; and it was proved, by communications from the medical men who had attended the cases, that the illness had nothing whatever to do with vaccination, but appeared to be hereditary."
That is a most valuable report, coming as it does from a committee composed partly of anti-vaccinators.
Infant vaccination should be practised from arm to arm, which is much more successful than from points, or from vaccine matter kept in tubes, though I must not omit to tell you that vaccine matter kept in tubes is subjected to most careful tests, and not a single tube which shows any signs of anything but pure lymph is sent out from the vaccination department.
With regard to vaccination from the heifer, it has been successfully introduced into Belgium, and it is quite possible that it may be introduced into this country ; I do not believe it will ever replace arm to arm vaccination, though I do not see why they should not be worked side by side, so that if any person has a kind of prejudice against human lymph there is no reason why he should not be vaccinated from the calf.
There is one country in Europe where the vaccination of infants and re-vaccination are now compulsory. In Prussia there were no compulsory vaccination laws for the civil population until 1874 but the mortality from smallpox in Prussia was so enormously greater than in German States where vaccination was compulsory, that in March 1874 a law was passed making the vaccination of infants, and the re-vaccination of children of riper years, compulsory throughout the whole of the German Empire.
Let me finish this lecture by quoting to you a few lines from Dr. Aitken.
"It is thus clearly demonstrated how vaccination has thrown the cegis of protection over the world ; and how ample, how great, and how efficient that protection may be. It has been shown to diminish mortality generally, and the mortality from smallpox in particular both in civil and in military life, at home and abroad, and just in proportion as it is efficiently performed. It has been shown to diminish the epidemic influence; it has been shown to preserve the good looks of the people; it has been shown that it tends to render smallpox a mild disease compared with the same disease in the unprotected; it confers an almost absolute security against death from smallpox; and lastly, it has been shown to exercise a protecting influence over the health of the community generally. On the other hand, it is no less amply proven that € wheresoever vaccination falls into neglect, smallpox tends to become again the same frightful pestilence it was in the days before Jenner's discovery; that wheresoever vaccination is universally and properly performed, smallpox tends to be of as little effect as any extinct epidemic of the middle ages.'-(Simon.)"