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Diphtheria Immunisation (Cost)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 1 April 1943

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asked the Minister of Health the amount of the expenditure incurred by his Department in the advertisement and carrying out of the policy of immunisation against diphtheria during the last financial year for which the figures are available; and the estimated amount of such expenditure for the current year?

The cost to the Exchequer of publicity advocating the immunisation of children against diphtheria was £2,276 in 1941–42, and £19,909 in 1942–43. The cost of carrying out immunisation falls on the local authorities except as regards the toxoid, which the Government supply to the authorities free of charge. The cost to the Exchequer of the toxoid was £14,638 in 1941–42 and is estimated at about £17,000 in the year ended 31st March, 1943.

Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that, in view of the fact that the benefits up to now have been quite nil, the expense should now be terminated?

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that this is a very cheap price to pay for the very large number of lives that have been saved?