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Vaccination Regulations

Volume 66: debated on Wednesday 26 August 1914

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I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for War a question, of which I have given him private notice, namely: Whether, in spite of the assurance given in 1908 that there are no Regulations enforcing the vaccination of officers and men of the Territorial Forces, orders are being issued to Territorials to be vaccinated; whether these orders are issued from headquarters or by commanding officers on their own authority; whether a memorial protesting against such an order, signed by 109 members of one company of the Somerset Light Infantry, has been presented to the officer commanding; and whether, in view of the importance of preventing any deterrence of recruiting, and of the conscientious objection to vaccination of many probable recruits, he will cancel any such orders and prevent others from being issued?

I have no knowledge of the particular incident referred to in the question. A circular has been issued recently informing general officers commanding that members of the Territorial Force who have conscientious objections should not be vaccinated. It is considered that the danger of an outbreak of smallpox among a body of insufficiently vaccinated troops is a very real one, and every effort is consequently being made to persuade men to undergo vaccination, and those who object are being informed that unless they submit to vaccination they are not likely to be of service in the field.